For the past couple of years, Facebook has been allowing users to log into their account on their personal computers using Tor-enabled browsers. This support for Tor network will receive a new boost, after Facebook announced that they will now extend Tor support to Android mobile users. In a move that is aimed to increase Tor functionality for Facebook users, a new feature that supports Tor network will be added to the Android app, which will allow users to browse privately. The announcement comes at a time when there is a heated debate on the issue of Internet anonymity.
About Tor network
Tor is an Internet anonymity network, which encrypts the traffic from the connected device and routes it through several network nodes all over the globe. This helps to conceal the identity of the Internet user and the location of the connection, allowing them to browse anonymously. The network has been the go-to option for Internet users who want to maintain their privacy while browsing online. However, it has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years, especially with the revelation of the massive surveillance of civilians in the USA by the NSA.
With the integration of the new feature, Facebook Android app will now come with a button that allows users the option of connecting to the internet using Tor network. However, users will have to download and install Orbot, the Tor app for Android phones. The new feature will however not be available to iPhone users.
Effects of the Tor Support for Facebook Android App
1) Increase in Internet anonymity
Internet users are always looking for more ways to increase their Internet anonymity, and with over 1.5 billion online users on Facebook, the new feature will significantly increase the ability of people to browse privately. Facebook users who use Tor network to log into their accounts will also benefit from improved online security, as the service encrypts important information such as the IP address and the location, which can help to protect them from hackers.
2) Easy access to Facebook in countries where it is censored
Facebook censorship is a main issue in several countries. The social media network has been banned in some countries. Since Tor network encrypts traffic and provides the user with Internet anonymity, people in countries where Facebook is banned or censored will now be able to use the service without fear of any repercussions.
3) A boost for human rights activists
With about 1.5 billion active users, Facebook is a communication channel that has a very wide reach all over the world. As a result, it has become a popular weapon for human rights activists who oppose authoritarian regimes. The social media network has been used in some countries to oppose human rights violations. However, the massive Internet censorship that exists in some of these countries has always made it hard for human rights activists to effectively use the network. With the Internet anonymity that is offered by the Tor network, activists can now use the network to communicate privately without fear of being discovered and prosecuted.
With about 80% of users connecting to Facebook through their phones, the integration of the Tor network to the Facebook Android app will help to boost Internet anonymity for many online users. In addition, it will increase the number of people who can be able to access Facebook, by allowing people in countries where Facebook is banned or censored to gain access to the social media network.