Facebook has added what it dubs “experimental support” for accessing its services via Tor on Android, using the Orbot proxy app for Android. The feature will be rolling out over the next few days, Facebook said yesterday.
It’s not the first Tor-related move for the social network, which created a Facebook onion address in October 2014 to make it easier for people to connect to Facebook directly via the anonymizing layer of Tor.
Necessary because Facebook’s security infrastructure conflicts with Tor’s intentional browsing obfuscation — so the direct link route offers a way for Facebook users to access the site through Tor “without losing the cryptographic protections provided by the Tor cloud”, as Facebook put it then.
It also at the time dubbed supporting its mobile-friendly website via an onion address as a “medium-term goal.”
Facebook says now that the expansion of support for the Orbot proxy is aimed at generally improving the experience of using its site over Tor on Android. So if you want to be able to access Facebook from your Android smartphone without other entities monitoring that you are doing so, that’s now a little easier to achieve.
Thing is, it’s rather unclear why you would want to anonymously connect to a social network that’s explicitly designed to track and profile everything its users do. It’s kinda missing the point — if the point is to preserve your privacy.
Or to put it another way…
For its part the Tor Project has previously blogged about why Facebook users might want to use its cloak of anonymity to access the site. Such as when a country shuts off Facebook access, for example. Or to prevent an ISP from knowing you’re accessing Facebook. Or Facebook from knowing your current location (albeit you’re clearly sharing other data with Facebook).