The world’s first YouTube video, titled “Me at the zoo,” was uploaded on April 23, 2005, by Jawed Karim, one of the co-founders of YouTube. It has since garnered millions of views.
However, for a brief moment, a YouTube glitch managed to deceive viewers into believing there was an undiscovered video predating this iconic clip.
What’s the controversy around the first-ever YouTube video?
On January 26, 2023, a video titled “Welcome to YouTube!!!” emerged. It claimed to be the true first-ever YouTube upload. The clip, uploaded on a channel called “enn,” displayed an image of the old YouTube logo on a blue background. It made references to the YouTube co-founders and had an early 2000s aesthetic, so it appeared convincing at first glance.
Luckily, eagle-eyed viewers quickly noticed inconsistencies that cast doubt on the video’s authenticity. For starters, the upload date showed as “Premiered,” which was unusual considering the video claimed to be from 2005.
Additionally, a disabled premiere video live chat was visible, a feature that didn’t exist until 2018. Further investigation revealed other features that weren’t part of the original platform.
To catch a prankster
Of course, people take their Internet history pretty seriously. Some viewers even delved into the source code of the watch page. That’s when they found that the metadata revealed the video was actually uploaded on January 23, 2023. That debunked any notion that a long-lost piece of internet history had been discovered.
Once the truth came to light, a spokesperson acknowledged the glitch that allowed the upload date to be manipulated. They also confirmed that the oldest video on YouTube would always be “Me at the Zoo.” YouTube reassured viewers that this iconic video, uploaded on April 23, 2005, by one of the platform’s co-founders, marked the true beginning of YouTube’s journey.
Despite being caught, the user behind the “enn” channel continued their antics by uploading additional videos, including one titled “premiere bug 01,” falsely claiming to have been published 53 years ago.