Facebook Did Not Intentionally Block Tor

By: Zach Walton - June 18, 2013

Tor has become a tool of free expression in parts of the world where citizens can not speak freely against their government. Many use the anonymous Web network to share information and updates with the rest of the world via social networks like Facebook and Twitter. What happens then when one of those social networks blocks Tor?

That very question arose today when Tor users found that they couldn’t connect to Facebook. Some reports made it sound like Facebook was intentionally blocking Tor. That was not the case. The Tor Project team said Facebook’s automated systems that detect malicious activity were to blame for the blockade:

A number of users have noticed that Facebook is blocking connections from the Tor network. Facebook is not blocking Tor deliberately. However, a high volume of malicious activity across Tor exit nodes triggered Facebook’s site integrity systems which are designed to protect people who use the service.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that freedom fighters and dissidents aren’t the only ones using Tor. A number of criminals and ne’er-do-wells also use the anonymous Web browsing service for everything from drugs to child porn. Activity coming from these parts of the network could have triggered Facebook’s automated defenses.

At 2:30 p.m. EST, Tor access to Facebook was restored. At that time, the Tor Project team offered an update that better explained the situation:

Facebook’s site integrity systems detected automated malicious activity coming from a significant number of Tor exit nodes. In order to protect people while we investigated the problem, access via these nodes was temporarily suspended. This issue has now been resolved and Tor access routes to Facebook restored.

It’s good to know that Facebook wasn’t intentionally blocking Tor, but the situation is a perfect example of how important anonymous online services are. Many people were rightly concerned that they would no longer be able to post pictures and other information on social media for fear of being arrested by their government.

Even if we’re being watched by the NSA, you can still feel lucky to live in a country where you can say mostly anything online. Just be sure to watch it when using certain words.

Zach Walton

About the Author

Zach WaltonZach Walton is a Writer for WebProNews. He specializes in gaming and technology. Follow him on Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, and Google+ +Zach Walton

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  • ShandaM

    Even if we’re being watched by the NSA, you can still feel lucky to live in a country where you can say mostly anything online. Just be sure to watch it when using certain words.

    Do you realize how wrong this statement is. We are Americans and in our constitution, The First Amendment, It says we have freedom of speech. We should not have our thoughts, feelings and words monitored by our government. Remember the words of the great Benjamin Franklin~ “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Do not be fooled into thinking that if the government listens into our conversations that they can prevent the next terrorist attack. The fact that we even need this kind of software to protect us against spying is ridiculous.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/author/zach-walton Zach Walton

      Oh I realize how wrong it is. I was merely poking fun at how we are free to practice our first amendment rights online while the DHS watches for certain words on social media.

  • ShandaM

    I am so glad! Thank you for responding and for writing the article. I enjoyed reading it!