Is Gmail being deleted? A viral post says yeah, but it probably isn't

SvetaZi/ShutterStock Alexey Boldin/ShutterStock (Licensed)

Prank post starts panic that Gmail is about to be shut down—but there’s no proof it’s true

It's a joke, gang.

 

Marlon Ettinger

Tech

Posted on Feb 22, 2024   Updated on Feb 22, 2024, 4:02 pm CST

A viral screenshot claiming that Gmail is shutting down trended on X today, but the posts appear to be a semi-coordinated prank by a bunch of tech accounts.

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This is something otherwise known as a joke.

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“this is insane. I hate this company,” posted @growing_daniel around 2:30pm on Thursday over a screenshot of the announcement.

“Dear Gmail User,” the message reads. “As of August 1, 2024, Gmail will officially be sunsetted, marking the end of its service. This means that as of this date, Gmail will no longer support sending, receiving, or storing emails.”

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The screenshot goes on to claim that Google will instead be focusing on “new technologies and platforms” to “revolutionize the way we communicate and interact online.”

While some people initially believed it, it was quickly clear that it was a joke.

“The only thing that made me think it would be plausible is this mess,” posted Bloomtech CEO Austen Allred next to screenshots of a Wikipedia entry on Google Hangouts’ demise. Allred initially made a post buying the story about Gmail being sunset before deleting it. 

Those in on it piled onto the trend, posting their own versions of the screenshot.

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“I’m sorry, this is my fault,” posted @anotheralexcohen over a different screenshot of the email.  “I asked the team to change the red in the Gmail logo to #EE4B2B and after 17 months of meetings across 42 PMs and 74 designers to discuss the societal and economic impacts of the change, the team decided to just kill the product[.]”

The first appearance of the post looks like it comes from @SHL0MS, a trollish “anonymous conceptual artist” popular in tech circles on Twitter.

“SAY SIKE RIGHT NOW,” they posted over the screenshot of the email, which is designed to look like it was sent by Google Analytics, and is addressed to SHLOMS.

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Google didn’t respond to an email asking whether the service is actually being shut down, but no one outside of the tech circles has been able to independently reproduce the warning sent from Google. 

Many posters trying to refute the joke pointed out that Google had in fact announced the end of one of their Gmail services in January: but that was the basic html version of the email designed to load faster for people with a crummy internet connection.

he Killed by Google Twitter account, which isn’t affiliated with Google but catalogs all the useful services which Google has turned off over the years, also weighed in on the news, offering a debunk.

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“My favorite part is how I didn’t even start this one, tbh.”

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*First Published: Feb 22, 2024, 4:01 pm CST
 

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