Webdriver Torso was a YouTube channel that started out like many others.
Alone and in a quiet corner of the internet.
Joining on March 7, 2013, it would start uploading bizarre videos later that year. As with many videos that fail to receive much attention, they rarely have any rhyme or reason.
In fact, if you’ve ever taken to looking for obscure content on Youtube you’ll quickly learn that there is a sea of nonsensical spam in almost every corner of the site.
(There’s even a subreddit dedicated to such videos)
As with most internet mysteries, the slightest oddity can send the internet into a frenzy.
What set web-driver torso apart was the sheer quantity of videos it started uploading, if you take a look at the YouTube channel today it has a whopping 624,774 videos.
Most of the videos contained what you would really only consider to be completely random shapes and sounds on the screen with each upload being around 10 seconds.
Speculation went rampant as this channel started to receive attention and various news sources picked up on the bizarre channel. As the internet likes to get carried away, theories ranged from spy communication, extraterrestrials, spam, all the way to google creating a sentient channel.
Not much headway was made and the channel would continue to upload for hours on end sparking more and more article on the topic.
Eventually, The Guardian managed to find out one little detail regarding a company called Selenium, from checking on one of the videos titled aqua.flv.
Selenium had a product called “Webdriver”, which was a testing service, but it was still unclear why used on YouTube. Selenium did not comment and all news outlets were at a dead end. Just as things were getting weird, the a few Easter eggs were found inside some of Webdriver videos.
Video 00014 showed the Eiffel Tower being lit up at night.
“tmpRkRL85” Was a play on the channels theme that included a Rick Roll; hence the name “RKRL85”
One final bizarre video was “0.455442373793” which is only available in France. It actually cost money to stream, which became a dead giveaway to what the channel was all about.
Eventually, YouTube finally acknowledged the channel in a statement to Engadget, they wrote:
We’re never gonna give you uploading that’s slow or loses video quality, and we’re never gonna let you down by playing YouTube in poor video quality. That’s why we’re always running tests like Webdriver Torso.Another reference to Rick Astley.
Ultimately web-driver torso sent the internet into a puzzled frenzy and it ended up being youtube’s secret test channel!
It just goes to show you really never know what you’re going to find in the weird corners of the internet.