Did you get a strange text from a known number early this morning? Apparently, so did a number of other people. According to posts from Reddit and Twitter, a number of phantom texts from February 14 were re-sent to their recipients. These texts can’t be seen on the senders’ phones — only on the recipients’ devices.
According to one report from a Maine radio station, the issue was caused by a glitch in an update to a cross-carrier messaging system, causing some people to receive early-morning messages. The issue does not seem to have been related to one carrier — with reports having emerged related to users on Verizon, Google Fi, U.S. Cellular, and more.
The issue could have been related to the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative, which is set to start rolling out soon, and will improve group messages when sending photos and videos. The system was developed by all four major U.S. carriers.
There are conflicting reports as to whether the texts are being sent for a second time, or if they never made it to the recipient in the first place. According to a report from The Verge, some reports indicate that users never received the texts in the first place, however, some users suggest that the messages are duplicates of messages originally sent on February 14 — Valentine’s Day.
We’ve reached out to Verizon and Google and will update this article if we hear back.
It doesn’t seem as though the issue was related to one single text, either. One Reddit user noted that they received three messages from their boyfriend, all from February 14.
Of course, the issue may have caused confusion for some, but will have been a little more consequential for others. For example, according to a report from The Verge, some users received messages supposedly from dead friends and relatives.
Generally speaking, if you received a message, or are being accused of having sent one such message, there’s little reason to worry about hacking or a privacy issue of any kind — beyond the fact that carriers may be storing your messages longer than you want. Hopefully, the issue has been resolved and you won’t receive any messages going forward.