Talk about missed connections.
Earlier this week, hundreds of people received seemingly random text messages, out of context and out of the blue, addressed from friends, family, and loved ones. The first part of the mystery was solved pretty quickly: users sussed out that the messages were actually late texts from nearly nine months ago — many from Valentine’s Day.
More than 168,000 “ghost texts” were sent across carriers including T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon, CNBC reports. Third-party provider Syniverse, which works with a slate of carriers, eventually cleared up the mystery: a Syniverse server that went down on February 14 was brought back online on Wednesday, sending out thousands of previously undelivered messages to unsuspecting customers.
Got a text last night from a girl I almost dated back in February. I was really confused until I realized the text was also sent back in February. It said, “Yes, I’d love to go out for Valentine’s Day”. Now I know why we never dated.— Daniel Andelin (@danandelin) November 7, 2019
a text message I sent maybe in February about Valentine’s Day was sent to my ex at 1:56am last night???… there are no words for this situation LOL pic.twitter.com/US6Kiaf1AB— shoonk (@radgamer666) November 7, 2019
Y’all… my damn phone apparently delivered a text to my ex at 5am this morning that was supposed to be sent in FEBRUARY. The universe wants me to fail— jamie ✨ (@PBandJamiee) November 7, 2019
I got one at 1:39 this morning from a co-worker that was a work question that specifically said “sorry to bother you on Valentine’s day, but…” We tried to check his phone but his messages only goes back to March.— Michael (@ShadowoftheGods) November 7, 2019
So, a random text (that I did not write) was sent to my dad at 4am from my phone. Doesn’t show on my message thread, but he sent a screenshot and it does on his.— Ainslie Lee (@AinsliesTwoBits) November 7, 2019
Anyone ever experience this? Should I be concerned? pic.twitter.com/U7iNo3StNP
Reactions ranged from amusement to confusion to outright distress. The delay didn’t just cause missed dates and awkward conversations — some people got messages from loved ones they hadn’t seen or heard from in months, or even from people who have died since Valentine’s Day, The Verge reports.
The incident sheds further light on the different steps our data takes to get from point A to B, and how sometimes it gets sidetracked to point C without us even realizing it. Your carrier, be it a big name or a smaller shop, likely works with at least one of hundreds of companies like Syniverse to deliver texts, payments, and other data across mobile networks, according to CNBC. Think of them as digital post offices, receiving, packaging, and shipping your messages — and think of this server outage as a mail tub that was left behind, never making it out to your mailbox. Syniverse says it usually only keeps undelivered texts for 24 to 72 hours as it attempts to send them out before deleting the data, but the offline server inadvertently allowed the company to retain and, months later, send the messages.
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