Tech

Discord obliterated a YouTube view count record. It may have been an accident.

When it comes to breaking YouTube records, you’ve probably heard of MrBeast and his record of most subscribed individual creator on the platform. MrBeast also once held the record for most viewed YouTube video in a 24-hour period after one of his uploads from August 2023 received nearly 60 million views in a day.

MrBeast’s 24-hour view record would quickly be bested by the long-awaited Grand Theft Auto VI trailer which dropped just this past December. The GTA 6 trailer garnered more than 74 million views to grab that record from MrBeast.

But it seems like no one will be breaking the new record-holders view count any time soon.

On Monday, April 1st, 2024, the popular messaging platform Discord dropped a video announcing a new “Loot Boxes” feature. While the “feature” existed, Discord wasn’t serious about it. It was an April Fools’ Day joke. Discord Loot Boxes have already been removed from the platform.

But, somehow, Discord’s 18-second April Fools’ Loot Boxes video received more than one billion views in a 24 hour period.

Yes, you read that correctly. One billion views.


Credit: YouTube

The video received so many views, it actually got stuck at 628 million views at around the 16-hour mark as YouTube struggled to keep up with the count before updating to 1.4 billion at around the 24-hour mark.

To really drive this new record home, Discord beat the record by around 1.3 billion views.

How did this happen?

So, how did Discord achieve this impossible feat?


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The company is being coy about it on social media, posting “oops” on Elon Musk’s social media platform X on Tuesday in a vague reference to the video. Discord also posted a few snarky replies to some users who commented on the post.


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Mashable reached out to both Discord and YouTube for comment but have yet to hear back from either company. We will update this piece if we do.

However, one software developer named Marvin Witt shared a very convincing breakdown of what likely happened. Basically, it appears Discord may have accidentally (or purposefully?) created a “working YouTube view bot” as Witt described it in a thread on X.


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Here’s what went down

When Discord pushes out a new feature, the platform often pushes out a pop-up announcement for users on the bottom right-hand corner of both the desktop app and web app.

Discord did this for the Loot Box joke feature on April Fools’ Day. Witt shared a screenshot of the pop-up. Mashable can also confirm that we saw this pop-up when logging into Discord on Monday morning.


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According to Witt, who also runs an independent news and updates resource about Discord, the Loot Box video from Discord was embedded in this pop-up via an iframe. 

“Loot Boxes have arrived!” the pop-up reads.

However, as Witt shows, the YouTube video was not viewable for users unless they hovered their mouse over the pop-up message, in which case the video would then pop-up from the message like toast in a toaster oven.


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Discord’s 18-second YouTube video was apparently auto-playing on loop in the background of the app while users spent countless hours messaging their friends or even just letting their computer idle.

So, that leaves one more question: Did Discord do this on purpose?

There’s some pretty convincing evidence from Witt that it was indeed an accident.

On his X account, Witt posted a screenshot of a Discord post from a “high up developer” working at the company from April 1st.


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“How the fuck is this video getting so many views,” it says.

Later in the day, some users started to notice that the pop-up’s code in the Discord app had been changed to fix the issue, switching from the YouTube video to a video file. However, as Witt noted, many of the views were coming from users who kept Discord open and weren’t actively using the app, meaning the problem would remain until those users updated the app, or the pop-up message no longer appeared because April Fools’ Day was over.


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The Discord Loot Box video will likely become the source of much debate within the YouTuber community too, since there will inevitably be controversy about whether the record should count. Even if it does, there’s likely to be a huge asterisk on this record.

Either way, Discord set out to fool everyone on April Fools’ Day. It appears they did that, but not in the exact way they had planned.