- Lots of people say they received out-of-context texts from friends and family last night. T-Mobile told Popular Mechanics that it was the fault of a third-party vendor.
- The texts might have been in response to messages that were originally sent last Valentine's Day, but weirdly delayed until last night.
- U.S. Cellular has confirmed that the ghost texts are the result of a glitch in telecommunications infrastructure.
Tons of people on Twitter and Reddit have complained they're receiving weird, out-of-context text messages from numbers in their contacts, and they say that they have no idea why.
Got a random text about blood pressure, diabetes, & aging from a friend at 2:44 a.m.— Ami Hendrickson 🐶🐴📘 (@MuseInks) November 7, 2019
She didn't send it.
It seems I'm not alone - some kind of phone virus.
Still: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? AM I CONTAGIOUS? WHEN DOES IT ALL END? pic.twitter.com/whiISUAMM4
It looks like this Reddit post from early Thursday morning sparked the whole controversy:
Turns out these texts all seem to have been sent this past Valentine's Day, which is even more bizarre.
But here's the good news: If you're one of those people, it looks like this (probably) wasn't a hack. According to a post from 92 Moose, an FM radio station in Maine, U.S. Cellular confirmed that the ghost texts are the result of a glitch in telecommunications infrastructure, specifically to the "cross carrier messaging system," which is a joint venture that the four major phone carriers committed to in late October.
According to an October press release from Sprint that also involves AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, the "Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative" will "deliver the next generation of messaging to consumers and businesses" by developing a new messaging standard that the companies said would roll out in 2020.
It looks like the point was to improve group chats across carriers when sending photos and videos. Think about all the green bubble people out there getting weird messages that iPhone users have "emphasized" a message in iMessage, which basically just repeats the text, but shows none of the animation that blue bubble iPhone users see, like fireworks, thumbs-up signs, and more.
"At the Un-carrier, customers drive everything we do, and that's no different here," John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, said in the release. "Efforts like CCMI help move the entire industry forward so we can give customers more of what they want and roll out new messaging capabilities that work the same across providers and even across countries."
Popular Mechanics has not confirmed that this is the reason people are receiving the undoubtedly creepy messages, but it's a theory based on a cryptic reply we got from T-Mobile communications when we asked about the issue:
This is not a T-Mobile issue, it’s a third party vendor issue that also affected other networks. We’re aware of this and it is resolved.
Here are some of the weirdest instances of these messages that we've seen so far:
Woke up today thinking mom was crazy talking to herself and this is the text she got from me apparently .. except I didn’t send it. Someone plz explain how the fuck this happened I’m creeped out pic.twitter.com/DVirO0jMCe— †ⓐⓨⓛ⊙ⓡ (@tayveres) 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
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