Twitter has launched a Tor onion service that will give users access to its site even if it has been blocked in a country, a move that is likely in response to recent Russian social media censorship.
Twitter’s onion service will be accessible for users who have a browser such as Tor, which helps “circumvent censorship” and is encrypted to prevent tracking or surveillance, according to the Tor Project.
Software engineer Alec Muffett announced the news today on Twitter, describing it as “possibly the most important and long-awaited tweet that I’ve ever composed.” The Tor network has also been added to Twitter’s supported browsers page.
This is possibly the most important and long-awaited tweet that I've ever composed.
— Alec Muffett (@AlecMuffett) March 8, 2022
Twitter’s onion service is available here while using Tor Browser or a similar tool. While you could already access Twitter’s ordinary website via Tor, the newly launched version adds more layers of protection to the already anonymized browsing experience and is designed specifically for the network.
“It’s a commitment from the platform to dealing with people who use Tor in an equitable fashion,” Muffett said. “Setting up an onion address is a practical step which demonstrates that the platform is providing explicitly for the needs of people who use Tor.”
Earlier this month, Russian regulators blocked access to social media sites Facebook and Twitter after the platforms placed restrictions on state-supported media such as RT and Sputnik.
While the new service is likely in response to Russia’s censorship policies following the invasion of Ukraine, it could prove useful in the future for users in other countries hoping to bypass censorship.