Twitter bypasses Russian blockade and launches Tor mirror
Twitter launched its own Tor mirror website last Tuesday. The social media platform Twitter can now also be reached via a special URL via the special Tor browser. Cybersecurity expert Alec Muffett reported this in a tweet of his own.
He called this “possibly his most important and highly anticipated tweet” he’s ever written. Muffett also contributed to the development of the mirror site. He already had experience with this, as in 2014 he led the team that set up the Facebook Onion service.
Twitter itself has added Tor to the list of supported browsers. However, the platform has not made an official announcement. Muffett explains why: “Past experience with the Facebook and BBC Onion sites tells us that a big announcement leads to a peak in crowds. Given that @TwitterSafety has 3.6 million followers, that wouldn’t make sense in a time of global crisis.” After all, a spike could lead to the website crashing immediately.
That said, Twitter can be found via the Tor browser at the following URL:
Onion mirror for Russia
The launch of Twitter’s Onion website follows increasingly strict internet restrictions in Russia. On Friday, the Kremlin already completely blocked Facebook and imposed restrictions on Twitter. News sites, such as BBC, Voice of America, and Deutsche Welle, have also been blocked in the country. These also have a Tor mirror, so that they remain available to everyone.
However, the Twitter mirror is available worldwide. Even in countries with a lot of censorship, where Twitter is blocked, such as China, Iran, and North Korea, citizens will be able to use the social platform via the Tor browser. Even if Russia creates a kind of protected .ru zone, and thus separates itself from the worldwide web, Twitter will therefore remain available to Russian citizens using the Tor browser.
The Onion Router, which Tor stands for, is a special internet browser. It is a global network of servers that allow you to communicate anonymously online. When you use Tor, your internet traffic is routed through these different servers that encrypt and decrypt your data. Due to this redirection and encryption, your online traffic cannot be traced back to you.
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