Facebook welcomes private browsers with dedicated Tor link

Facebook has opened its doors to privacy conscious users, by opening up a dedicated Tor link, guaranteeing that people who visit the social networking site through anonymous browsers aren’t mistaken for botnets, Gizmodo reports.

This is a significant step for the Tor project: Facebook is the first website with a Certificate Authority to launch a dedicated URL for Tor users with certified connection though the browser.

The Next Web goes into a more detail about the Tor link, explaining that “the Facebook onion address (accessible only in Tor-enabled browsers) connects users to Facebook’s Core WWW Infrastructure, so as to provide end-to-end communication, directly from the browser into a Facebook datacenter, allowing for private and secure browsing sessions. An SSL certificate issued by Facebook to visitors confirms to them that they’re indeed accessing the right destination.”

Although Facebook did work previously on Tor-enabled internet browsers, it was prone to erratic behavior. As The Verge puts it: “While Tor users could previously access Facebook before today, it often loaded irregularly with incorrectly displayed fonts and sometimes didn’t load at all, because Facebook’s security features treated Tor as a botnet — a collection of computers designed to attack it.”

The move follows a busy 12 months for Facebook with regards to their privacy and security credentials. Welcoming Tor users to the social network follows moves such as modifying its ‘real name only policy’, allowing users to log-in to third party mobile apps anonymously, and making all desktop visitors use https connections on the site.

The Verge notes that as Tor can be used to bypass government censorship in certain countries, the development could help Facebook expand in areas which would previously have blocked it.

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