Russia tried to restrict the flow of information about its war in Ukraine by blocking Facebook and Twitter access. To combat that, Twitter has announced a new privacy-protected site to bypass surveillance and censorship. Earlier, both the social media platforms said that they were trying to restore access to people inside Russia as they blocked the country’s state-owned media from their respective services.
Users can access this version of Twitter by downloading the Tor browser, which is also known as the “onion” service. This browser will allow people to access sites that will carry a .onion suffix instead of .com. Regular sites like Twitter.com can also be accessed on Tor, but the .onion versions are unique for the browser and it prevents the sites from being spoofed by malicious actors.
The term “dark web” is usually associated with illegal sites like the Silk Road drug market that no longer exists. However, it can also be used by people who want to access sites censored by repressive governments and to remain anonymous for their safety.
Regular sites like Facebook and BBC also have versions that are accessible on Tor. Twitter confirmed that it was also developing its Tor version even before the Russian invasion started.
Software engineer and internet security expert Alec Muffett announced Twitter’s new service on his own account. He has also worked with other companies to set up their onion sites. He wrote, “This is possibly the most important and long-awaited tweet that I’ve ever composed.”