SOCIAL OUTLET Facebook has boasted that one million people use Tor to access its services.
Accessing Facebook over the privacy protecting onion router seems odd to us, but we know that the internet takes all sorts. For example, some people actually use Facebook to communicate with other people.
Facebook announced the Tor association in 2014 and added an Android app option this January. People have apparently leaped at the option.
"People who choose to communicate over Tor do so for a variety of reasons related to privacy, security and safety," said Alec Muffett, a software engineer for security infrastructure at Facebook.
"This is why in the last two years we built the Facebook onion site and onion-mobile site, helped standardise the ‘.onion' domain name, and implemented Tor connectivity for our Android mobile app by enabling connections through Orbot."
Muffett reckons that a flood of Facebookers have taken up the options, and that it hit a 30-day one million user figure after two years of steady growth.
Facebook has over one billion users and, despite having the privacy reputation of a towel on a windy beach, has made an effort to present a very secure front. Facebook rolled out PGP encryption and SSL in June last year, bringing extra security to its email communications.
It's paying off apparently. "Over this [two-year] period the number of people who access Facebook over Tor has increased. In June 2015, over a typical 30-day period, about 525,000 people would access Facebook over Tor e.g. by using Tor Browser to access www.facebook.com or the Facebook Onion site, or by using Orbot on Android," added Muffett.
"This number has grown roughly linearly, and this month, for the first time, we saw this 30-day figure exceed one million people.
"This growth is a reflection of the choices that people make to use Facebook over Tor, and the value that it provides them. We hope they will continue to provide feedback and help us keep improving." µ
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