[tor-project] Messages for Twitter about Tor blocking?

Roger Dingledine arma at mit.edu
Thu Mar 17 22:13:27 UTC 2016

On Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 02:58:28PM -0700, David Fifield wrote:
> I was invited to go to Twitter and talk about Sheharbano's, Sadia's,
> Mobin's, Srikanth's, Vern's, Steven's, Damon's, and my research about
> web sites blocking Tor users:
> https://www.benthamsgaze.org/2016/02/23/do-you-see-what-i-see/


> I'm not a Twitter user, beyond sometimes reading the web interface, so I
> haven't experienced blocking myself. But I've heard of Tor users being
> blocked by Twitter. Is there anything you'd like me to say to or ask of
> them? I know about the #dontblocktor hashtag (which is more often
> directed at CloudFlare than Twitter); I know that Leif was off Twitter
> for a while; I know about Marie's survey of users at
> https://pad.systemli.org/p/twitterdontblocktor. Anything else?

Isabela and I went there and met with Michael Coates back in December.

Some of the topics we covered then (and you should be sure to re-cover
if they make sense to you):

- Facebook managed to get a lot more internal support once they did an
internal study about just how many Facebook users they had using Tor
(answer: a whole heck of a lot). I would bet that Twitter could gain
ammunition internally by doing a similar study. They could re-use the
bulkexitlist tools in some way to distinguish which connections are
coming via Tor.

- This same mechanism on their side could let them track whether and
when they are challenging Tor users with phone number requests or the
like. There are many anecdotes around that topic but not so many facts,
and they have actual facts they could look at.

- They should set up an onion address for Twitter (seriously, why are
they so behind the times?)

- Isabela pointed out to them that the Twitter android app had dangerously
broken proxy support, meaning it was bypassing its proxy settings
sometimes. I wonder how that fix is going.

- If you are interested, you might help them line up "country X blocked
twitter" events with our metrics graphs of Tor usage in that country, to
see if there are cool graphs there.

I encourage other people here to list (productive) things we should want
from Twitter too.


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