Twitter launched a privacy-protected version of its site to circumvent surveillance and censorship after Russia restricted access to its service in the country.
Russia blocked access to Facebook and restricted Twitter in an attempt to restrict the flow of information about its war in Ukraine. Both companies said they were working to restore access for people inside Russia, even as they restricted the country’s state media from accessing their services.
Known as the “onion” service, users can access this version of Twitter if they download the Tor Browser, which allows people to access sites on what is also known as the “dark web”. . Instead of .com, onion sites have a .onion suffix.
While the term “dark web” conjures up illegal sites such as the now defunct Silk Road drug market, it is also often used by people seeking to remain anonymous for their safety and also to access censored sites. by repressive governments.
Facebook and other sites like the BBC also have versions accessible on Tor.
Software engineer and internet security expert Alec Muffett, who has worked with other companies to set up onion sites, announced Twitter’s new service on his own Twitter account.
“This may be the most important and long-awaited tweet I’ve ever composed,” he wrote on Tuesday.
Russia has intensified its efforts to control the dissemination of information about the invasion of Ukraine and to crack down on independent news sources and social media sites.
Last week, Russian officials blocked access to Facebook in retaliation for platforms imposing restrictions on public media. Twitter, the BBC, Voice of America and the US government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle and Latvian website Meduza were also blocked.
Media companies have lobbied against Russia’s attempt to control information following legislation imposing prison terms on those who disseminate information that goes against the Russian government’s narrative of the war.