Twitter drops Tor Onion protection network, an anti-censorship tool

The Tor Onion tool has stopped working in its Twitter version and it seems that there are no plans to renew it. This platform allowed to consult the social network in a private way hiding the navigation data, something very useful in countries where it is forbidden to access. In this way, the only tool that could circumvent censorship and fight against what infringes on freedom of expression is eliminated.

Exactly one year ago, in March 2022, Twitter launched its version for Tor Onion, motivated by Russia’s blockade of that social network and Facebook, in the context of its war conflict with Ukraine.

As of March 6th of this year, when accessing Twitter through the Tor browser, it is reported that the site’s certificate has expired and, if you decide to continue, the page gives an error.

March 8 marked the one-year anniversary of the appearance of this tool, and everything seems to indicate that it will not be reinstated, or at least not in the short term.

The social network owned by Elon Musk has not issued any statement on the matter, nor have they informed Tor about what plans they have for them in the future.

How does the Tor Onion tool work?

The Tor platform provides the ability to browse different sites privately, which helps to avoid censorship in blocking countries such as Russia. This is achieved because the data passes through different nodes that encrypt the information, instead of traveling directly from the computer to the server.

In this way, the website cannot track the IP or the location of the computer, which is very useful in countries that apply blocks to certain pages such as China or Russia. Although navigation is slower because the information does not travel directly, it is an essential tool for avoiding censorship and protecting privacy.

The Tor Onion version of Twitter is the same as the normal website of the social network, only the way in which the connection is established is modified. In addition to this, browsing through Tor Onion avoids TLS man-in-the-middle attacks and DNS censorship.

Why did Twitter terminate the Tor Onion protection network?

Pavel Zoneff, the Tor project’s communications director, confirmed that the option to connect to Twitter through Tor Onion is no longer available and there are apparently no plans for renewal. However, he does not know why the social network has decided to terminate the service. Zoneff also stated that he attempted to reach out to try to re-establish Tor Onion for Twitter, but has not heard back about the platform’s plans. For its part, the Tor project is willing to continue providing the service, so everything remains in the hands of the social network owned by Elon Musk.

However, statements made by Alec Muffet, a Tor security engineer who was involved in the project, reveal that there is little hope that it will be back online. According to him, the people within Twitter with whom he worked to get Tor Onion up and running for Twitter have already left the company.

This is undoubtedly bad news, because the Tor Onion version of Twitter allowed many to connect to a social network that served as a platform for instant information and also to communicate with others. We will have to wait to find out what Twitter’s plans are for dealing with censorship and replacing Tor Onion.

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