FACEBOOK HAS announced that the firm will expand its support of Tor privacy software to users of its Android app.
The company opened a version of the site on the so-called dark web in 2014 to allow anonymous use of the social network as an aid to privacy. The Android app will now include a flip switch to allow anonymous browsing.
The move is a result of Facebook commonly receiving "requests for additional platform support beyond the browser".
The development was actually done by a summer intern at Facebook headquarters, but is now being rolled out to the app.
Users will need to download a secondary app, Orbot, which provides access to the Tor proxy, but then it will simply be a matter of turning on the setting to divert traffic away from the main interweb.
Kate Krauss, a spokesperson for The Tor Project, which is also a Tor-tology as the 'T' stands for 'The', told Reuters: "Everybody in the world needs more privacy online and almost everybody is on Facebook. This will allow people to choose whether to share their location or not. For some people, this is convenience. For others, it is lifesaving."
Krauss (if that is her real name) made the comments remotely via encrypted messenger service Signal.
Tor has no current plans to expand its reach to any other platforms, naming iOS specifically as not on the roadmap. It currently runs an anonymous browser called, unsurprisingly, The Tor Browser.
Facebook said in a blog post: "We commonly receive requests for additional platform support beyond the browser, and thanks to a project initiated by a summer intern at Facebook and subsequently picked up by our Protect and Care team in London, we are now offering experimental support for using Facebook over Tor via the Orbot proxy app for Android devices."
Use of Tor has expanded, not just for accessing the seedy underbelly of the dark web, but as an effective way to protect privacy. Facebook has actively supported the right to privacy through such means, even though it affects the company's ability to make money from tailored advertising. µ
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