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Twitter is starting to buckle down against online harassment by forcing people signing up for a new Twitter username using the Anonymous web browser TOR to give their phone number so they can be tracked.

Twitter is only mandating this association using Tor, typical Twitter users using regular web browsers don’t have to sign up using their mobile number. The reason is that it makes it easier to track Twitter cyber bullies who use the service to make tons of new anonymous accounts in order to bully people even after they have been blocked.

There is not much official information about this yet, but it has been observed and documented by many TOR users, including myself. I tried to sign up for a Twitter account using a regular search browser, and it only showed a Capcha lock, where you only have to input the right set of numbers to prove you are not a bot, but when I tried it using Tor, I got this:

tor

And it seems that French Twitter servers are even harsher, denying users from signing up in entirety if they try to use the Tor web browser.

It is a possibility that Twitter is targeting Tor in particular because of its use of anonymity, which is believed to be a breeding house for abusive online trolls. Early last month Twitter CEO Dick Costolo admitted to, and took full responsibility for Twitters troll problem. He said “We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years,” And has since rolled out with some new updated safety features to help combat harassment and bullying to make Twitter a more likable place to be, as Costolo admitted that due to rampant Twitter abuse, they are losing core members.

I will be updating this story if any new information comes out about it, because as of this writing there really is not much of an official statement to go on by either Tor or twitter.

But what do you think of Twitter forcing Tor users to start using mobile numbers in order to sign up for accounts? It is a good idea that will fight actual Twitter trolls? Or is it just needlessly stereotyping tons of online Twitter users who just want anonymity?


Lucy Walcott

Lucy Walcott is a writer who loves to talk about political issues and other things. She has been an avid gamer since she was little, focusing almost exclusively on RPG and hack and slash games. Some of her favorites includes The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Ys, and Breath of Fire. Her favorite systems includes PlayStation, Nintendo, and Steam.