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Facebook For Android Adds Tor Option For Anonymity

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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Tired of been tracked? Android users can browse Facebook using the anonymity service Tor

Facebook has expanded its collaboration with the Tor Project, by allowing users of its Android app to use the Tor anonymity service to use the social networking site.

The development will hardly surprise industry observers, as Facebook has been long rumoured to be developing a way for people to anonymously upload posts.

Facebook And Tor

The announcement that now mobile users (only Android at present) can use Tor to browse Facebook, is an expansion of an existing partnership between the two entities. Two years ago, Facebook gave PC users the ability to use Tor to anonymously use Facebook.

Kate Krauss, a spokeswoman for the Tor Project, told Reuters that a group of developers that oversees development of the anonymity software, said Android support could help expand Tor due to Facebook’s 1.5 billion users.

Tor Project“Everybody in the world needs more privacy online and almost everybody is on Facebook,” Krauss reportedly said. “This will allow people to choose whether to share their location or not. For some people, this is convenience. For others it is lifesaving.”

To ustilise Tor for Facebook, Android users have to download Orbot proxy app.

“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,” said Facebook in a blog posting on the matter.

“After installing Orbot, visit your Facebook “App Settings” menu to enable the feature using a new preference switch,” it said.

Privacy Concerns?

The move to allow Android users to utilise Tor for Facebook posts could trigger concerns of government and law enforcement officials, who have been campaigning to close the use of social networking services by extremists and terrorists.

Last month President Obama appealed to technology companies to help in the fight against ISIS terrorists and other extremist groups. And earlier this week the NSA released a transparency report to try and sooth public concerns after the Edward Snowden revelations about NSA spying.

A couple of weeks ago, executives from technology giants met with the US government, as well as US intelligence agencies and law enforcement officials. The meeting was to discuss ways that Silicon Valley could help combat the growing use of social media by terrorist groups such as ISIS.

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