YouTube has come a long way from its humble beginnings over 18 years ago, when platform co-founder Jawed Karim uploaded a video named “Me at the Zoo” to the site. An imposter video with the misleading title “Welcome to YouTube!!!” was recently submitted to the service and, by taking advantage of a glitch, managed to appear before Karim’s video. To their credit, YouTube’s response time was lightning fast. There is only a 19 second film showing Karim standing in front of an elephant cage at the San Diego Zoo and remarking on the animal’s huge trunk. However, it is a highly regarded artefact of the internet, much as Jack Dorsey’s first tweet, which changed hands as an NFT in 2017. The movie exploiting the problem, on the other hand, was styled to seem like a mid-2000s YouTube debut trailer, complete with a soundtrack of “Jump” by Van Halen. That, together with the bogus April 5, 2005 upload date (which was weeks before Karim’s actual April 23, 2005 post), made for one convincing hoax.
While “Welcome to YouTube!!!” may be historically accurate, it’s not what it seems to be for a number of reasons. In comparison to Jawed’s upload, which has 253 million views as of this writing, this one has only 361,000. A user named enn claims to be the originator of the hoax first video and that they signed up in September 2005, well after the purportedly inaugural post.
To YouTube’s credit, they didn’t take too kindly to the discovery that the uploader of “Welcome to YouTube!!!” had used a glitch to steal the show from Karim’s video. A representative for the video sharing site confirmed the problem in an interview with The Verge and promised a solution is in the works.
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 kickstart more than 17 years of creativity on YouTube.
Welcome to YouTube’s correct upload date is now January 26, 2023, thanks to YouTube’s quick response. The video is no longer publicly accessible without a direct link; it is no longer included in YouTube’s search results, and the exploited issue appears to have been fixed. You have to hand it to ebb for bringing attention to the flaw and getting their 15 minutes of fame, even if we probably won’t see any more odd films competing for the inarguable “first-ever upload” tag.
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