What the Hell is Webdriver Torso? A Weird YouTube Video, for Starters

Watch this.

The first of these sequences was uploaded on September 23 of last year.  The uploads continued unabated, sometimes every two minutes and up to 400 videos a day until–well, they just stopped.  There’s a whole YouTube channel of these things with more than 80,000 clips spanning 236 hours.

The pattern is always the same: ten slides, a blue rectangle, a red rectangle and a computer-generated tone.


Here are some possible explanations:


  1. It’s a numbers station–or the YouTube version of one–designed to communicate with spies, operatives, Manchurian candidates and black ops personnel.
  2. It’s some automation software gone berserk.
  3. Some kind of test pattern program for…something.
  4. An art project.
  5. Aliens.
  6. The French.

Actually, #6 seems to be the most promising. A code-breaker did some work for the BBC and found within the videos a clip from the cartoon series Aqua Teen Hunger Force which was hidden behind a paywall and only available in France.  Then in video 1,182, there’s a shot of the Eiffel Tower.

While not quite on par with the Cicada 3301 mystery, this is intriguing.  Anyone have any further intel?


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38536 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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