For those Facebook users who are concerned about their privacy and security, Facebook had expanded the options of its Android app. Now it can route traffic over Tor which will help users to remain untraceable during their Internet sessions. Such feature will be useful not only for those who care about their privacy, but also for those who live in countries where Facebook is restricted.
Facebook has set collaboration with the Guardian Project, the creator of Orbot proxy, which makes one’s usage and location completely anonymous. New option, in fact, elongates previous partnership which allowed Facebook users to use its site directly via Tor on their PCs. Such a decision was a result of a response from a hefty number of PC option fans, launched back in 2014
How Tor works
Tor is deciphered as ‘The Onion Router‘, according to its main principle of work. Onion routing passes traffic through a number of random network computers which are called nodes or relays. The name comes from the fact that the routing is organized in layers. Each ‘onion peel’ is a computer or node in the network which passes the information to the next node. The way in which the sender remains anonymous is that each node knows only the location of directly preceding and following nodes.
At the present moment, the traffic will still go to the public servers during the first passing through Tor – and this is called one of the biggest issues right now. Nevertheless, it will be soon dismissed as the company is currently working on it.
Making Tor and Facebook apps work together
Tor option can be enabled in the application settings. The users also need to install Orbot from Google Play as it the only application to launch Tor on your smartphone. It is important to remember that the feature is still experimental, so some bugs and issues may appear occasionally.
Except for Google Play, Orbot is also available on the Orbot F-Droid repository. This app allows its users to connect to the web, e-mails or instant messages without a risk to be blocked or monitored by their providers of Internet service. After installing Orbot, users have to update their Facebook app to the latest version.
The other side of the coin
However, it has one drawback which may be crucial for some users, especially the busy ones. The point is that Facebook cannot push notifications through its mobile application because of the principle of how the anonymity network works. Therefore, those users who were used to getting their notifications automatically, will have to check for them manually.
Helper to millions
Tor may come in handy for lots of people. For instance, it is useful for those who are not willing their Internet provider or anyone else to know which particular websites or services they are accessing. Such option is extremely important to journalists and activists who live in places where Internet activity can be monitored on certain websites and services, including Facebook.
Another category of the Internet users who will enjoy this update are those who do not want to reveal their real IP address. It is usually connected with the fact that social media services may be restricted in some areas. Tor will help everyone to get access to Facebook, even if they live in China, for example.
Facebook will be available for its users via Tor in a week or so. The company says it will be waiting for the feedback from its users as soon as the app starts functioning in full swing.