Why some texts from Valentine’s Day arrived 9 months late

Investigators

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Mysterious text messages started popping up all over the country over the last few days – messages that confused and troubled thousands of people. 

Most of us rely on texting more so than voice communication in many instances because texting can be more precise and have more impact.

But, what happens if your text message is never delivered? Or delivered late?

That’s exactly what happened this week when people suddenly started receiving text messages from a year ago—many of them they’d never seen before.

Twitter users reported receiving strange messages about canceled airline flights, messages from an ex, or even deceased relatives.

Here’s what was going on. 

It only involved what’s known as SMS texts.

When you send a message on your iPhone it’s either in a blue or green bubble.

The blue bubble is Message and goes through Apple’s encryption system. 

They were not affected.

The green text messages bubble indicates it’s a short message service text and whether its an iPhone or an Android, an SMS message goes through a different process involving third parties.

One of those third party companies is called Syniverse whose website says it sends up to 60-billion messages a month for many wireless carriers.

That’s where the problem occurred.

SMS text messages don’t go directly from phone to phone.

When you send a text via SMS, it leaves your phone and makes a stop at a third party’s server where it’s then routed to the phone you are sending the message to.

It all happens within seconds—but there’s a record of that text message.

In the case of the mysterious text messages, Syniverse says they were sitting in queue in a server that suddenly failed on Valentine’s Day this year.

The company says when it reactivated the server, all the messages sitting in the queue were released.

As a result, some 169,000 messages in their queue on Valentine ’s Day suddenly blasted forth yesterday to the surprise of many.

Syniverse’s CEO has apologized and says it’s in the process of reviewing their internal procedures to ensure this does not happen again.

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