Home sci-tech Smartphones in U.S. buzz with puzzling texts, and no one can say why

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Smartphones in U.S. buzz with puzzling texts, and no one can say why

by Ace Damon
A person checks their smartphone

If you woke up Thursday with a strange text that seemed totally out of place, you are not alone. A mysterious wave of missives swept across America's phones overnight, delivering largely unintelligible messages from friends, family, and occasionals.

Friends who had not talked for months were led to talk. Others panicked briefly.

The best explanation seems to be that the old texts sent in the spring were suddenly published. Two people said they found that the original messages were never received. It is unclear why this months delay happened. The telephone companies blamed others and offered no further explanation.

Stephanie Bovee, 28, from Portland, woke up at 5 am with a text from her sister that just said "omg". She immediately thought that something had happened to her newborn nephew in the hospital.

She started calling everyone. The sister and sister's husband did not respond. She woke her mother, scaring her. It was three hours before she knew it was all right and the text was a strange anomaly.

"It's funny now," she said. "But out of context, it wasn't cool."

Bovee found that people were receiving some of her old texts that were not published when her sister and a co-worker received texts she had sent in February. The text her sister received wished her a happy Valentine's Day.

Mobile operators offered useless explanations for the strange-text phenomenon, which seemed to be widespread, at least according to social media.

A Sprint spokeswoman said it resulted from a "maintenance update" for messaging platforms across multiple US carriers and did not explain further. T-Mobile called this a "third party vendor issue." Verizon and AT&T did not answer questions.

Marissa Figueroa, 25, from California, received an unwanted message from an ex she had stopped talking to – and then he also received one. In fact, neither of them sent them last night, the two said. Figueroa couldn't understand, even worried that her ex was messing with her until she saw reports of it happening to other people.

"It wasn't great," she said. "It was not good for me and my mental health to be in contact with him."

A friend who had just returned to his life received a mysterious message from Joseph Gomez at 5:32 am Thursday. In that text, Gomez seemed to assume she was on her way to his house so they could order a Lyft.

It took half an hour of messaging and screenshot help to clarify the situation. Can their relationship recover? Gomez, 22, said it was "messy, then awkward and then funny." No mixed messages there.

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