Twitter is set to inaugurate a version of its platform as a Tor onion service. The service would support optimisation of it for privacy-protection and a network that is censorship-evading. The news on came on Twitter on Tuesday, March 8, and announced by software engineer Alec Muffett. He described his tweet as possibly the most crucial and “long-awaited” that he had ever composed. The Tor network has reportedly been added to Twitter’s supported browsers page as well.
Twitter’s onion service is available at https://twitter3e4tixl4xyajtrzo62zg5vztmjuricljdp2c5kshju4avyoid.onion while using Tor Browser or a similar tool.
Twitter’s ordinary website via Tor was already accessible by users all this while. However, the new version that has launched gives it additional layers of protection to the browsing experience that is already anonymised. The layers of protections are specifically made for the network.
This is possibly the most important and long-awaited tweet that I've ever composed.
Onion services, at times, are referred to as “dark web” services or hidden services, though the former indicates explicit criminal sites such as Silk Road drug market. Many websites currently offer versions that are Tor-specific, which includes the search engine, DuckDuckGo. News outlets include ProPublica, the BBC, and The New York Times. Other sites used to use tools to receive source documents, like SecureDrop which also runs through Tor.
“It’s a commitment from the platform to dealing with people who use Tor in an equitable fashion,” Muffett specified. “Setting up an onion address is a practical step which demonstrates that the platform is providing explicitly for the needs of people who use Tor.”
Muffett, a software engineer, works with companies to establish onion sites. He tweeted that he had been talking about the possibility of a Twitter, that would be Tor-friendly since 2014. This was the same time as when Facebook had gone on to launch its own hidden service. It was structured to fix crucial functionality problems for Tor users who were frequently flagged incorrectly as botnets. As of 2016, Facebook specified that a million users were accessing the onion service through Tor each month.
Tor’s functions has gained relevant importance in the present situation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Tor plays the function of encrypting web traffic and routing it through a series of servers to conceal identifying information of users. It is a popular path to access sites that could possibly be victim to internet censorship.
Twitter’s onion service has been developing for way longer and has advantages that surpass accessing a platform that is blocked. It makes sure that people use Tor’s network, as it does not function with ordinary browsers. In fact, it also protects against certain security risks that standard web address have introduced.