Thousands of Americans woke up Thursday morning to unexplained out-of-context text messages, thanks to a strange glitch that left the internet baffled.
“Need help,” one Twitter user, @airelkatalina, received from her friend at nearly 1 a.m.
“Omg,” was the text Stephanie Bovee’s sister sent her, leading the 28-year-old to believe her newborn nephew was in danger, according to ABC News.
“Yes, I’d love to go out for Valentine’s Day,” Twitter user Daniel Andelin got from a woman he’d asked out nine months ago.
The chaos — which, according to GQ, involved 168,149 total mysterious messages — led to broken up couples interacting for the first time in months, parents frantically calling their children and even people hearing from their dead relatives.
So what was going on here? Apparently, the spooky, unexplained texts had all been sent before.
The culprit seems to be Syniverse, a third-party networking service that has since taken credit for the messages, according to The Verge. The company admitted that an “internal maintenance cycle” caused hordes of previously unreceived texts to come through in a span of just a few hours.
It’s a problem that affected nearly all major service providers, according to its website, Syniverse is responsible for sending more than 600 billion texts every month.
To make the saga even stranger, many of the messages seemed to have been originally sent on a single day — Feb. 14, 2019. As a result, thousands of Valentine’s Day messages that were never delivered came through in Thursday’s early hours — leading to some awkward and sometimes frustrating encounters.
“And I hope to spend a ton more Valentine’s Days with you to come,” one Twitter user sent to his then-girlfriend in February. But the woman, now his ex, did not get the message until Thursday.
“I got weird texts from my ex-GF last night asking if I wanted her to wake up her husband so we could talk. I was so confused! Now it makes a lot more sense,” one Reddit user posted.
Some exchanges weren’t as lighthearted, though. HuffPost journalist Zeba Blay got a text message from her mother on Thursday morning that read “Can you open door,” even though her mom was nowhere near her.
William Hurley, Syniverse’s chief marketing and product officer, told GQ that the company apologized to “anyone who was impacted by this occurrence,” adding that the service would be reviewing its procedures to ensure that similar errors don’t happen again.
To read even more of the strange texts — both good and bad — check out this Twitter thread put together by “Reply All” host Alex Goldman, who collected people’s stories as they solved the mystery in real-time.
More to read: