For Facebook users worried about their security and privacy, help is coming to the Android app in the form of Tor support. The social network has announced a partnership with the Guardian Project, which creates the Orbot proxy for Android that is based in Tor’s encrypted software, making your location and usage completely untraceable.
It comes two years after Facebook created a Tor onion address for Web users, which allows users to connect securely over a Tor browser. Facebook claims that since it added Tor support, a sizable community has started using the encryption software, and they have been asking for additional platform support.
For those unaware, Tor is one of the most popular anonymous networks in the world. It directs Web traffic through an encrypted and random relay network provided by volunteers, which hides the user’s location, usage, and IP address, and makes it near impossible for surveillance to follow or decipher the traffic.
The Tor Project welcomes attacks on its software to see if anything can penetrate it, similar to Google’s stance on hacking its own services. The NSA managed to break through the program by targeting outdated Firefox browsers, but could not gain access to information from anyone who kept their browsers and other programs up to date.
It is quite easy to enable Tor on Facebook, but first you need to download the Orbot proxy app either from Google Play or the F-Droid repository. Then, go to the App Settings menu on Facebook and enable the Use Tor Via Orbot feature. Facebook plans to enhance its own Onion Service in the future and move away from Orbot, meaning in the future you might not have to download a proxy to use the Tor network on mobile devices.
Support for Tor on Android is still in an experimental stage, so expect some bumps along the way.