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A software quirk caused Discord's April Fools' video to accidentally rack up more than 1.4 billion YouTube views, 8 times as many as the GTA 6 trailer

 Discord April Fools' joke 2024 - Discord-branded loot boxes.
Discord April Fools' joke 2024 - Discord-branded loot boxes.

Like just about every other company in the Western world, Discord rattled off an April Fools' gag yesterday about adding loot boxes to its social media platform. Fast-forward to April 2, just 24 hours later, and that goofy little clip has blown past 1.4 billion—yes, that's billion—views.

That's a massive milestone. How massive, as the Doctor once said, depends on the context: The Baby Shark Dance, for instance, currently has 10 times that many views. But it's been on the 'Tubes for seven years, while the Discord clip arrived, y'know, yesterday.

For something a bit more relatable to gamers, the Grand Theft Auto 6 trailer that dropped in December garnered 61 million views 12 hours after it went live, an achievement we described as "astonishing," and four months later sits at 183 million views in total. Streaming sensation MrBeast, who surpassed Pewdiepie to become the top guy on YouTube at the end of 2022, hit 541 million views with his biggest video, a Squid Game recreation posted in 2021—a little more than a third of Discord's mark. Which, again, it achieved in a day.

The obvious question is, how the hell did this happen, and this is where it starts to get good. The clip apparently played in the background of Discord's toast notification, the little pop-up messages that appear at the bottom of your screen for a few seconds to let you know something is happening: You've got email, a Steam friend is playing a new game, or whatever.

Developer and Discord dataminer Marvin Witt (via IGN) said this had the effect of creating a viewbot that simulated literally hundreds of millions of people watching the video.

Discord managed to create a working YouTube view bot in 2024 by playing their loot box announcement trailer on loop in the background of the in-app toast ��
Discord managed to create a working YouTube view bot in 2024 by playing their loot box announcement trailer on loop in the background of the in-app toast ��

(Image credit: Marvin Witt (Twitter))

It's widely assumed that the whole thing was an accident: As Witt noted, even Discord developers seemed baffled by what was happening.

I should mention they presumably did this accidentally, even one of the high up developers at Discord was confused as to how this was happening
I should mention they presumably did this accidentally, even one of the high up developers at Discord was confused as to how this was happening

(Image credit: Marvin Witt (Twitter))

Discord hasn't yet confirmed that this is what happened, but it has, sort of, denied intent:

oops
oops

(Image credit: Discord (Twitter))

you're right, this is more of a
you're right, this is more of a

(Image credit: Discord (Twitter))

just a lil silly just a smidge silly
just a lil silly just a smidge silly

(Image credit: Discord (Twitter))

What YouTube will ultimately do about all of this—whether it will remove the viewer count from the video, or maybe even suspend or ban Discord's account for viewbotting, which would make the whole thing even funnier—remains to be seen.

For now, that bonkers number is still there, although its rocket-like ascent has slowed to a crawl. I've reached out to Discord for comment and will update if I receive a reply, but at the moment it sounds like they're still trying to sort things out.

STOP PRESSURING ME I JUST BROKE A WORLD RECORD I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE'RE DOING NEXT �� �� ��
STOP PRESSURING ME I JUST BROKE A WORLD RECORD I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE'RE DOING NEXT �� �� ��

(Image credit: Discord (Twitter))