Social networking giant, Facebook, has added Tor support to its Android application. The feature is an extension of a collaboration between Tor and Facebook, which allowed users to access the desktop version of the social network using Tor. Kate Krauss, spokeswoman for the Tor Project, said that this would allow users to choose whether their location data is shared or not. Calling it a convenience for some and lifesaver for others, Krauss also noted that everyone needs more privacy and almost everybody is on Facebook today. Krauss’ statements came through an encrypted messaging app, called Signal.
While the move has Android users covered, Tor itself has no plans to support Facebook’s iOS app, said Krauss. In a blog post, Facebook said that the social network has a “sizeable community” revolving around the feature, which was launched originally in 2014. This has prompted the need for Facebook to add support for Tor to its Android app as well. To use Tor on Android, one must download the Orbot proxy app, which will connect you to the anonymity network. You will also have to update Facebook’s app settings in order to ensure that you have Tor support.
Tor came into mainstream knowledge after Edward Snowden used the network to conceal his identity, while revealing information about the US government agency, NSA, spying on its own citizens via the Internet. In fact, the Tor network was originally funded by the US government, as a defense project, but has come under fire from multiple quarters recently. The anonymity network hides your computer’s IP address, thereby making it really difficult to find the true identity of users.
Proponents of Tor though argue that anonymity on the Internet is of paramount importance, especially considering the vast amounts of data that one can access through it. User data has for long become the most important asset for governments and companies, including Facebook, who have been doing their best to gather as much data on users as possible. The best example of the usefulness of such data is in the success of Google, which entered the game much before others and has now built a literal monopoly over the search market.