Why Facebook is running a Tor hidden service

The conspiracy theorists are out in force on the move by social media giant Facebook to open a hidden service portal for Tor users. After all, why on earth would the operator of the most  notorious private information hemorrhaging service in the world be at all interested in your privacy? It must be a plot by the NSA to trick Tor users etc.

We think Zuckerberg’s motivations are likely to be far more mundane and to do with simple good business practice. Facebook has a privacy policy that is quite clear about what they will and won’t do with your information. Just like any professional business, Facebook provides assurances to us that they only share information with the group of people you specify. Facebook can be forced to break confidence with you by an agent with a warrant from a judge; it would be very bad for business indeed if they took no action to prevent it happening otherwise.

That is exactly what they have done – Tor shuts out snoopers.

If you connect to Facebook via https://facebookcorewwi.onion ( you need a Tor connection to go to any .onion web page ) you can be confident to a very high degree that nobody can see anything you post accept those you chose to share with – and Facebook. Even the NSA with its mighty PRISM will be shut out.

The wisdom of trusting Facebook is where the conspiracy theories start. Facebook’s business is all about aggregating personal information and it’s probably silly to think that Tor adds much practical value to the service – Facebook will tag you “Tor user”.  But not every business is like Facebook.

For companies offering professional services where trust and confidentiality is prerequisite, running a TOR service lets your clients share electronic information with you in true privacy. Mark Zuckerberg just wants you to trust him. That is understandable, we all want our customers to trust us and it serves our own interests to make sure that we don’t let them down.

Posted in Cloak, News, Privacy, Tor

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