How to access news sites and Facebook if they are censored in your country

Who I am
Judit Llordés
@juditllordes

When people face censorship, accessing up-to-date and accurate information becomes difficult. Censorship takes many forms, and isolating people from news sources and other information is one of them.

Thankfully, there are ways to access current and ongoing news online when normal roads are cut: Tor. A number of major news outlets operate websites on the Tor network, allowing anyone to access information and news from around the world, regardless of location, censorship or otherwise.


So here's how you can use Tor to access all kinds of news websites, no matter where you are.


What is Tor?

“Tor” refers to the Tor Project, a non-profit organization that receives funding from numerous sponsors, including US federal agencies, private foundations, technology companies and individuals. At its core, the Tor Project promotes open internet access for all, no matter where they are, free from censorship and surveillance.

Tor's two biggest assets are its Tor network, which you access via the Tor browser. In short, the Tor network uses onion routing to protect user privacy. All data sent over the Tor network is encased in multiple layers, ensuring that it flows from source to destination while protecting against surveillance, interference or more. Our guide on how onion routing works explains the process in more detail, but in essence (very simple), this is how Tor network encryption protects your data in transit.

Come come near the net Tor?

To access the Tor network, you need to download the Tor browser. The Tor browser is a heavily modified Mozilla Firefox browser that includes all the necessary privacy extensions and custom configuration files required to access the Tor network. It comes preconfigured and ready to use, and unless you know what you're doing, it's best to leave the security and privacy settings alone. An improperly configured Tor browser may expose your data or that you cannot access the Tor network.



Visit the and install it on your system. Once installed, you use it like a normal browser, although you will need special onion addresses to access sites hosted on the Tor network. An onion address is usually a long alphanumeric string followed by the .onion top-level domain. You can also access regular websites via the Tor network, although when you do, your traffic goes through the Tor network and returns to the free network (the normal Internet) via an exit node.

Due to the additional encryption that protects your data, you will find the Tor network and Tor browser slower than your regular browser. The added security is worth it in certain situations, but most security experts don't recommend using the Tor browser as a daily driver. It's not really designed for that, and some of the privacy settings will break some functionality of the websites you visit regularly.

How to access news on the Tor network and Facebook

Now, several news outlets run onion sites on the Tor network, giving people the ability to access a news source in times of need. Please note that we are not disputing that the news you can find on the Tor network is impartial or has any kind of political bias. Some sources are less partial than others, and you can do whatever you want with them. This article simply directs those affected by surveillance and censorship to a place where they can access a news source.

BBC news

The BBC has been running an onion site for years, allowing people around the world to access its news and journalism. The BBC News address is:


  • https://www.bbcnewsd73hkzno2ini43t4gblxvycyac5aw4gnv7t2rccijh7745uqd.onion/

Copy and paste the address into the address bar of the Tor browser.


Bonus: Is English not your native language? The BBC covers the news in piles of different languages. Check BBC News In Your Language for your native language:

  • https://www.bbcweb3hytmzhn5d532owbu6oqadra5z3ar726vq5kgwwn6aucdccrad.onion/ws/languages

Deutsche Welle

Similar to the BBC, German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle operates an onion site to maintain access to its news around the world. Deutsche Welle's address is:

  • https://dwnewsgngmhlplxy6o2twtfgjnrnjxbegbwqx6wnotdhkzt562tszfid.onion/

Copy and paste the address into the address bar of the Tor browser.

New York Times

Another of the world's leading news organizations, the New York Times, keeps an onion address up and running. The New York Times address is:

  • https://www.nytimesn7cgmftshazwhfgzm37qxb44r64ytbb2dj3x62d2lljsciiyd.onion/

Copy and paste the address into the address bar of the Tor browser.

ProPublica

ProPublica is a world-leading investigative news organization that has won numerous Pulitzer Prizes for its work. While you won't necessarily find "breaking news", you will find plenty of information on a variety of topics. The ProPublica address is:


  • http://p53lf57qovyuvwsc6xnrppyply3vtqm7l6pcobkmyqsiofyeznfu5uqd.onion/

Copy and paste the address into the address bar of the Tor browser.

The Intercept

Again, The Intercept is not a breaking news site, but you will find plenty of investigative journalism and recent news reports. The Intercept onion address is:

  • https://27m3p2uv7igmj6kvd4ql3cct5h3sdwrsajovkkndeufumzyfhlfev4qd.onion/

Copy and paste the address into the address bar of the Tor browser.

Radio Free Europe

Last but not least, Radio Free Europe is a broadcaster that broadcasts news to countries around the world, but with a focus on Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East. You can read and listen to the latest news through Radio Free Europe's onion site:

  • https://www.rferlo2zxgv23tct66v45s5mecftol5vod3hf4rqbipfp46fqu2q56ad.onion/

Copy and paste the address into the address bar of the Tor browser.


Facebook Onion Site

Getting access to Facebook if you're facing censorship or surveillance could be incredibly helpful, if only to let people know you're okay or not. The Facebook onion address is:

  • https://www.facebookwkhpilnemxj7asaniu7vnjjbiltxjqhye3mhbshg7kx5tfyd.onion/
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