Tuber, a web browser app that lets Chinese users bypass the Great Firewall and access Google, Facebook without VPN, just disappeared from app stores
As part of the Chinese government’s effort to curtail the Western influence on Chinese citizens, internet users in China are blocked from accessing foreign websites including Google, Facebook, and Twitter due to the country’s Great Firewall. These sites can usually only be accessed via virtual private networks or VPNs.
Tuber is a recently launched web browser app that lets Chinese users bypass the Great Firewall and access Google, Facebook without VPN. Tuber was backed by Qihoo 360, a Chinese cybersecurity giant. On October 9, a journalist at the state-backed tabloid the Global Times also tweeted about its launch.
Just 3 days after Global Times promoted the app on Twitter, the app disappeared on major app stores, including App Store and Google Play. In addition, Tuber’s website no longer works.
In a tweet on October 9, Rita Bai Yunyi, a reporter at Global Times, tweeted this: “Exciting news!! #China launched a new web browser Tuber that can connect to FB, Twitter, Google, etc, without using VPN!! It’s still censoring fake news or propaganda like Epoch Times, but I think it’s good for China’s stability and it’s a great step for China’s opening up!”
Exciting news!! #China launched a new web browser Tuber that can connect to FB, Twitter, Google, etc, without using VPN!! It's still censoring fake news or propaganda like Epoch Times, but I think it's good for China's stability and it's a great step for China's opening up! pic.twitter.com/03fyJAo6U8
— Rita Bai Yunyi (@RitaBai) October 9, 2020
Qihoo 360 has not responded to requests for comment when contacted by the media. China’s censored internet leaves an opportunity for “somebody to make a filtered version of Google” to compete with local players, according to Rich Bishop, CEO of AppInChina. But it could also face challenges.
“I guess if that started becoming popular Google themselves would probably block that and then you’d need to have all the licenses to run a video hosting site and search engine. That in itself is fairly difficult to get,” CNBC wrote, citing a comment from Bishop, whose company helps developers publish their apps in China.