facebookcorewwwi.onion is a site that allows access to Facebook through the Tor protocol, using its .onion top-level domain.[1][2] In April 2016 it had been used by over 1 million people monthly, up from 525,000 in 2015.[1] Neither Twitter nor Google operate sites through Tor, and Facebook has been applauded for allowing such access,[3] which makes it available in countries that actively try to block Facebook.[4]

In October 2014, Facebook announced[5] that users could connect to the website through a Tor hidden service using the privacy-protecting Tor browser and encrypted using SSL.[6][7][8] Announcing the feature, Alec Muffett said "Facebook's onion address provides a way to access Facebook through Tor without losing the cryptographic protections provided by the Tor cloud. […] it provides end-to-end communication, from your browser directly into a Facebook datacentre."[6] Its network address – facebookcorewwwi.onion – is a backronym that stands for Facebook's Core WWW Infrastructure.[5]

Prior to the release of an official .onion domain, accessing Facebook through Tor would sometimes lead to error messages and inability to access the website.[1] There are numerous reasons to use the Tor-protocol for legitimate purposes, such as for increased anonymity when connecting to Facebook.[9] ProPublica explicitly referenced the existence of Facebook's .onion site when they started their own hidden service.[10]

Connecting to Facebook through Tor offers a way to access the site with a higher level of protection against snooping and surveillance from both commercial and state actors.[11] The site also makes it easier for Facebook to differentiate between accounts that have been caught up in a bot-net and those that legitimately access Facebook through Tor.[11] As of its 2014 release the site was still in early stages, with much work remaining to polish the code for Tor-access. It has been speculated that other companies will follow suit and release their own Tor-accessible sites.[11]


  1. ^ a b c William Hoffman (April 22, 2016). "Facebook's Dark Web .Onion Site Reaches 1 Million Monthly Tor Users". Inverse. 
  2. ^ "Facebook Releases Special Link for Tor". PCMAG. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  3. ^ "The Torist: How to read a secret magazine on the darknet". The Indian Express. April 10, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Facebook opens up to Tor users with new secure .onion address". BetaNews. November 1, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Muffett, Alec (October 31, 2014). "Making Connections to Facebook more Secure". Protect the Graph. Facebook. Retrieved December 4, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Rober Lemos (October 31, 2014). "Facebook offers hidden service to Tor users". Ars Technica. Retrieved October 31, 2014. 
  7. ^ arma (October 31, 2014). "Facebook, hidden services, and https certs". Tor Project. 
  8. ^ Duckett, Chris (October 31, 2014). "Facebook sets up hidden service for Tor users". ZDNet. 
  9. ^ Murdoch, Steven J (February 6, 2015). "Is Tor still secure after Silk Road?". Phys.org. Retrieved May 23, 2016. 
  10. ^ "A More Secure and Anonymous ProPublica Using Tor Hidden Services". ProPublica. 
  11. ^ a b c "Why Facebook Is Making It Easier To Log On With Tor—And Other Companies Should, Too". Fast Company. November 10, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2016. 

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