- A web browser called Tuber, backed by Qihoo 360, allowed Chinese users to access foreign websites such as YouTube and Facebook.
- Google, Facebook and Twitter are all blocked in China due to the country’s Great Firewall. They can usually only be accessed via virtual private networks or VPNs.
- The Tuber browser has now disappeared from app stores and its website no longer works.
GUANGZHOU, China — An app that briefly gave Chinese internet users access to foreign websites such as YouTube and Facebook — services that have long been blocked — has now disappeared.
The web browser called Tuber was backed by Qihoo 360, a Chinese cybersecurity giant. On Oct. 9, a journalist at the state-backed tabloid the Global Times
about its launch.
China’s so-called Great Firewall blocks websites such as Facebook and its services like Instagram as well as Google and Twitter. Content on Chinese websites is also heavily censored, particularly if it is deemed politically sensitive by Beijing.
A virtual private network or VPN is required to access any blocked sites in China. But the Tuber app allowed users to access these services without a VPN.
There were some caveats to the Tuber app however. Users had to register with their identity card information and phone number, according to Reuters and TechCrunch, which both tested the app.
Search results on YouTube for politically sensitive phrases such as “Tiananmen” and “Xi Jinping” returned no results on the Tuber app, according to TechCrunch.
The Tuber app was available on the Huawei app store but was no longer there when CNBC checked