Things were feeling ever so slightly apocalyptic last week when AT&T, America's largest mobile carrier, had a nationwide cell service outage on Thursday.
And for many online it had them thinking about one thing only—the Netflix film Leave the World Behind, in which an Armageddon-like war erupts and all communications are knocked out entirely, along with electricity.
Being plunged back into the dark ages—or at least the analog ones—definitely had some people rattled, especially when other mobile carriers began to get dragged into the outage as well.
Verizon, the nation's second-largest cell phone carrier, soon added its name to the list of outages. Then reports began to surface of T-Mobile having problems, along with even smaller regional carriers like Cricket and US Cellular.
Even tiny pay-as-you-go company Boost had struggles, though as T-Mobile officials explained was the case with their network, the other companies' problems might have just been attributed to their users trying to connect to AT&T users.
Regardless, people quickly became unnerved—and Leave the World Behind began to trend on X, aka Twitter, as users found the situation eerily similar to the opening stages of the global cyber attack that occurs in the film and makes everything from Teslas to cargo ships go rogue.
Literally just watched Leave the World Behind last night and woke up to all 3 cellphone networks being down \ud83d\udc40— (@)
Even Netflix couldn't help but get in on the action.
Once word got out that both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security were demanding answers about the outages, many were so certain something nefarious was afoot that AT&T released an official statement to ABC about the outage.
AT&T confirmed that, no, the world was not ending—it had just been a poorly-executed network update. The statement, according to ABC, read in part:
"The outage was not a cyberattack but caused by 'the application and execution of an incorrect process used as we were expanding our network.'
'We are continuing our assessment of today’s outage to ensure we keep delivering the service that our customers deserve.'"
Sure, that's exactly what they want us to believe!