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Are French spies creating mysterious YouTube videos?


Photo via the BBC

YouTube user Webdriver Torso has become a source of mystery for the Internet. The channel for the prolific user contains 77,000 videos, each 11 seconds in length. The videos follow a pattern; there are 10 slides that contain a red rectangle and a blue rectangle. The shapes gets bigger or smaller as a computer-generated tone changes its pitch. Even though the format stays the same in all the videos, each one is said to be unique.     

No one has any idea who Webdriver Torso is or what the videos are for. However, this has not prevented the Internet from forming its own ideas. Boing Boing has come up with the theory that the videos are the modern version of number stations. Number stations were used during the Cold War to transmit unintelligible messages through shortwave radio stations. This was thought to be a common method for passing secret messages to spies on the field. The messages contain a sequence of numbers or Morse code that would only make sense to someone with decryption codes. 

Number stations were thought to be a common method for passing secret messages to spies on the field during the cold war.

Another theory is that Webdriver Torso is a piece of automation software. The channel shares its name with the Selenium Webdriver, a tool for running tests on websites. However, a developer for Selenium denied having any connection with the videos. “Those videos look like they were trying to make contact with aliens,” Selenium developer Patrick Lightbody told the Daily Dot.     

A new report from the BBC now claims to have tracked where the videos came from. The videos were said to have a French connection of sorts. 

The BBC downloaded the API on all the Webdriver Torso videos in an attempt to spot patterns. Webdriver was said to be very prolific, uploading 400 videos on most days. Even on Christmas Day, Webdriver uploaded a video every two minutes. Of all the videos posted, only two had a different length.

The very first video uploaded to the channel was a clip from a cartoon show called Aqua Teen Hunger Force. The video, which is only viewable in France, is locked behind a paywall that costs two euros. The clip was posted more than a month before the first rectangle video.

The other anomaly is video number 1,182. The six second clip, which appears to be filmed in a balcony in Paris, shows an Eiffel Tower light show. On the comment section, Webdriver wrote: “Mattei is highly intelligent.”

The last video that Webdriver posted can be found below. If anybody has any idea who Matei is, we’d love to hear about it. Also, we want to hear your theories. Aliens have already been brought up. Why stop now?

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