On Tuesday, October 16th, YouTube went down.
At about 6:20 PM Pacific Time, the video streaming giant saw its service lost due to an outage, and it stayed down for about an hour and a half, going back up at about 8.
People panicked. People complained. People watched porn. People even called the police.
And of course, people came up with conspiracy theories.
YouTube is owned by Google. And it’s generally accepted by the conspiracy crowd (and a lot of other people in tech, to be fair) that Google is an evil monolith intent on harvesting your data, social engineering, exploitation of workers, and funding liberal causes.
So when YouTube went down, the anti-Google conspiracies went wild.
Immediately, redditors on r/conspiracy came up with the “real reason” for the outage. One posited that the reason was so Google could purge people’s playlists and saved videos – particularly from non mainstream sources.
Another conspiracy was that Google brought down all of YouTube to purge one particular video: that of a reptilian alien “in his natural form showing his appearance and physical strength.”
There were even conspiracy theories that the outrage was planned to specifically purge conservative or right-leaning accounts.
It also shouldn’t be surprising that QAnon believers, growing antsy after their guru hasn’t posted since October 9th, immediately grabbed on to the YouTube outage as a sign that “The Storm” was finally about to be unleashed.
Major tech companies and social apps having brief outages has always been a part of the QAnon storyline. As far back as the original Q posts in October and November 2017, forecasting a bunch of events that never happened, Q warned to “Expect outages periodically (infiltrated).”
There are also other Q posts that reference a “comms blackout” being an essential part of the plan, and that during these blackouts, files are exchanged and plans made over secret communications networks.
One particular Q post, 1044, alluded to a “YouTube kill” that would take place as part of a massive worldwide “net pause” encompassing Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The purpose: shut down a picture of Barack Obama wearing tribal gear and holding an AK-47 assault rifle. Such a picture would be so damaging to the Obama legacy that the cabal would destroy the internet itself to keep it from going mainstream.
In the end, none of what any conspiracy theorist alleged was going to happen during the YouTube outage happened. Playlists were restored, conservative accounts were not purged, and the outage was over within two hours.
As for the great “internet kill” Q foresaw – that post was from April, six months before the brief YouTube outage. No “pause” ever happened, no pictures of Barack Obama in “tribal attire” ever surfaced, and Q has proven himself time and time again to be a fraud.
In the end, the YouTube outage was one of those things that’s just a fact of life in an interconnected world full of fallible technology.
Just be glad it wasn’t the power grid or your local airport’s radar. This time.