The very first video uploaded to YouTube is “Me at the Zoo”(Opens in a new window) featuring platform co-founder Jawed Karim at the San Diego Zoo. It’s a bit of web history that all internet junkies and very online people know.
But, what if it wasn’t? And if there was a older video that has not been discovered for almost 18 years?
Well, there isn’t. “Me at the Zoo” is still the oldest video on YouTube. But, a prankster discovered a glitch on YouTube that made everyone believe for a day that the whole internet video story was fake all along.
The tweet may have been deleted
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It all started on Thursday January 26, 2023 when a video(Opens in a new window) titled “Welcome to YouTube!!!” started doing the Sleeves(Opens in a new window) on social networks. The video was the only upload on a channel called “enn”. The clip consisted of a still image of the old YouTube logo on a blue background. Text overlaid on the video read, “By: Chad, Steve, and Jawed,” references to the co-founders of YouTube. “Welcome to YouTube!!!!” read another text box in the video as Van Halen’s “Jump” plays in the background. The clip clearly had a mid-2000s Windows Movie Maker-like aesthetic.
The release date of “Welcome to YouTube!!!” was listed as April 6, 2005. If accurate, this video would have predated “Me at the Zoo” which was uploaded on April 23.
Besides the fact that this video allegedly went unnoticed for over 17 years, some viewers started noticing a few inaccuracies.
When you click on the video for more information, the upload date is displayed as “First”. Additionally, there was a disabled first live chat video visible on the right side of the video. This means the video has been released as a “YouTube premiere”, a feature on the platform that allows for a pre-recorded live premiere video so viewers can watch and react together in real time. YouTube only launched this feature in June 2018. Live streaming wasn’t even possible on YouTube until 2011.
Plus, there were other quirks that punched holes in the claim that this was actually the first YouTube video. When they clicked on the channel’s “About” page, viewers noticed subscription date(Opens in a new window) for the user was listed as September 4, 2005, months after the video was allegedly posted. Additionally, the video had a resolution size of up to 480p, which YouTube only introduced in 2008.
Finally, some savvy viewers decided to right-click on the YouTube video play page and view the source code of the page. According to the metadata listed, the video was actually uploaded to YouTube on January 23, 2023.
YouTube confirms the bug
With these revelations, it became clear and conclusive that there was no newly discovered piece of Internet history. This involved a user exploiting an issue allowing them to set a YouTube premiere date in the past, which would then make the video appear to have been uploaded at that time.
“We are aware of an issue that allowed the upload date of this video to be changed and are working on a fix,” a YouTube spokesperson said when contacted by Mashable. “Rest assured, the oldest video on YouTube will always be ‘Me at the Zoo’, which was uploaded on April 23, 2005 by one of our co-founders and helped kick-start over 17 years of creativity on YouTube. .”
From Friday, the message “Welcome to YouTube!!!” the upload date of the video has been corrected. It now appears to have been created on January 25, 2023.
Since then, the enn channel has uploaded additional viewer videos, including one titled “first bug 01”. The upload date shown on this new video is listed as having been first posted 53 years ago.
The “Welcome to YouTube!!!” the upload date of the video has been fixed, but there is another video dating YouTube as being 53 years old.