The disappearance of The Tuber app puzzled users on Sunday when it disappeared from the app store completely.
The Tuber app was available on the Huawei app store but was no longer there on Sunday.
It is unclear whether the government ordered the app’s take-down but the app is unavailable on the Apple’s App Store and the app’s website is also not working.
The Tuber app gave Chinese internet users access to foreign websites such as YouTube and Facebook because those sites, among others, have long been blocked by the Chinese government.
Tuber was backed by Chinese cybersecurity giant, Qihoo 360 who launched the app in early October.
On Oct. 9, a journalist at the state-backed tabloid the Global Times tweeted about its launch:
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
China is known for its “Great Firewall” which blocks sites like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and some of Google and Twitters content.
The Chinese government heavily censors websites, especially if they are categorized as politically sensitive by the Beijing government.
To access any of the blocked sites in China, users must have a VPN, but the Tuber app allowed users to access these services without a VPN.
According to Tech Crunch, search results on YouTube for politically sensitive phrases such as “Tiananmen” and “Xi Jinping” returned no results on the Tuber app.
Because the app went missing suddenly on Sunday, several sources tried contacting Qihoo 360 but received no response.