Glitch Lets Thrilled Chinese Access Facebook, YouTube
Great Firewall cracks, users urge Obama to push for China human rights
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2012 4:00 AM CST
A slogan in a Beijing Internet cafe reads "Build a safe internet cafe, welcoming 60 years of Communist rule."   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

(Newser) – An apparent glitch in China's "Great Firewall" this week allowed the country's Internet users to enjoy the rest of the world's favorite websites without having to rely on expensive virtual private networks. Large numbers of Chinese flocked to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Google+ while the crack in the wall—which now appears to have been plugged—remained open, Reuters reports.

Chinese users flooded President Obama's Google+ page, with many urging him to fight for greater human rights in China. The glitch appears to have been the result of bugs in an update to the firewall, according to analyst Brian Glucroft, who regularly tests the limits of China's Internet censorship—although he suggests there may be another explanation. "Sometimes, I wonder if China deliberately makes the Great Firewall inconsistent or applied irregularly just to confound attempts to probe and understand it," he says.