The last few years have definitely been the age of social media. The web has gone from a place where you go to find information, to a place where you put all your information for the world to see. From a privacy perspective, social media is a pretty bad idea. It’s almost the antithesis of the Dark Web. That’s a place where you go if you want absolute anonymity. So you’d think that social media would be the last thing to find there. You would, however, be wrong, since there are actually a surprising number of social media sites hidden within the depths of the Tor network.
It makes sense if you think about what people would use social media for in the first place. It used to be that people would open social media accounts under assumed names. Which means the tradition of anonymous internet handles lived on. However, these days anonymity is seen as a negative thing. Leading to outlets like Facebook creating real name policies that prohibit false identities.
So, many Dark Web social media sites give you all the fun of social media without the privacy invasion. That’s not the only reason to access social media through the Dark Web, however. Surprisingly, there are clearnet mirrors of mainstream social media on the Dark Web too. These provide people a way to access social media from places where oppressive governments may have blocked them otherwise. That’s enough preamble, let’s look at some actual sites.
Surprised? Yes, the largest social media site in the world actually now has a Dark Web presence. You can visit Facebook by going to an onion address, but don’t think you won’t be subject to the same Facebook privacy issues that plague those of us who have to use it the usual way. It’s simply a way for people who are blocked from using the service through normal channels that can now access it anonymously.
TapIIN was once a pretty well-made social media site on the Dark Web where people could do most of the things you think of when considering social media. You could connect with people and make online friends. I say “was” because it seems that the site is down and more than a few other people have the same experience. This is one of the main drawbacks of using Dark Web sites. They can just disappear in the blink of an eye. Which just goes to show that you should not get too attached to online friends you make on the Dark Web, the next time you log in it could all be gone.
If you can’t tell by the name, BlackBook was meant to be a FaceBook alternative on the Dark Web. You could add friends, leave status updates and join groups in much the same way as Facebook. Even the landing page was ripped straight from the Facebook site of the day.
We will never know how popular BlackBook was, but anecdotally it seemed that quite a few people spent time there. Of course, we also don’t know how real those accounts were, but as long as everyone had fun I guess it didn’t really matter. Sadly, in 2017 the site was hacked and as far as I know, has not recovered.
There has actually been more than one “TorBook” and the various creators and hosts didn’t have anything to do with each other. The last time I checked we were on the third Torbook already, with the first two shutting down not too long after getting off the ground.
Although they were not related, all the TorBooks were of course clones of Facebook. Which meant they looked similar. Perhaps there are several TorBooks out there right now for all we know, but the most famous ones have all died it seems.
Galaxy (1& 2)
The first Galaxy social network was also pretty popular and first went online in 2013. Today this Facebook clone is no more, but it’s successor named (rather without imagination) Galaxy 2 was just as popular if not more so.
Just as with all the other social media sites, you set up a profile, added photos, and statuses and so on. Galaxy 2 had a good reputation as a place that’s mindful not to publicly condone and publish things the authorities may use as an excuse to shut them down, which explains why it’s one of the longest-surviving sites. It seems that it may be no more, but already a Galaxy 3 site has popped up, although I have no idea if it’s at all related behind the scenes to the first two.
Do Forums Count?
There are lots and lots of chat sites and forums on the Dark Web. Should these be counted as part of the social media on the Dark Web? Personally, I don’t think so. These formats predate what we think of as social media today and conflating them is a categorical error. Especially since those sites tend to host long-lived communities. Dark Web social media is gone quickly most of the time
Fleeting Social Butterflies
While social media is no stranger to the Dark Web, it seems that time is not kind to these sites aiming to bring people together. Most do not last very long. Either they get taken down for illegal content or the creators simply run out of money, interest or both. Which means if you plan to get cozy with strangers on the Dark Web, be prepared to lose those precious memories without warning.
Do you use Dark Web social media? Any additional sites we should know about? Let us know in the comments. Lastly, we’d like to ask you to share this article online. And don’t forget that you can follow TechNadu on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks!