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Solar flares? Russian nukes? Theories swirl for what caused cell outage

It was like a game of telephone, only with no cell phone service.

Theories about Thursday massive disruption swirled on social media, with blame for the widespread outage leveled at US foes Russia and China, as well as aliens, solar flares and even Netflix — which some suggested created the havoc to promote an apocalyptic film with an eerily similar tech blackout.

No official reason has yet surfaced for why reportedly more than 74,000 AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon users lost cell service Thursday morning.

Some police departments stopped receiving 911 calls during the ongoing outage, while similar issues were reported at smaller carriers like Boost Mobile, Consumer Cellular and Straight Talk Wireless.

The most credible-sounding scenario focused on the sun, which emitted two solar flares on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.

Perhaps the most convincing of the theories on the culprit of Thursday’s mass cell phone outage is one by, which said powerful solar flares disrupted service for AT&T, T-Moile and Verizon users and cited a notice on the NOAA’s website. NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) warned the “strong flare event” could include “temporary degradation or complete loss of [high frequency radio] signal on much of the sunlit side of the Earth.”

The government agency, however, quickly shot down the theory that flares caused the loss of cell service.

“Bottom line: this outage appears to be a coincidence not connected to the X class solar flares,” an NOAA told The Post.

A separate statement prepared by the NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center read: “Based on the intensity of the eruption and associated phenomena, it is highly unlikely that these flares contributed to the widely reported cellular network outages.”

Users on X pointing to more terrestrial threats like Russia, whose leader Vladimir Putin has been apparently been looking into nuking US satellites, as The Post previously reported.

Some police departments stopped being able to receive 911 calls after a nationwide cell outage affected tens of thousands of users on Thursday. Downdetector

AT&T seemed to have experienced the largest number of issues, with nearly 32,000 reports at around 4:30 a.m., according to data from DownDetector, which tracks outages by collating status reports from sources including user-submitted errors on its platform.

“Russia out here shutting down our cell phone service!” one user declared.

“I really don’t want to jump the gun here and point a finger at Russia but this cell phone outage thing is screaming it,” another said.

The outage came one week after Russia’s alleged satellite-killing and nuclear ambitions in space sent some members of Congress into full-blown panic mode.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby confirmed that the uproar on Capitol Hill was indeed over an “anti-satellite capability that Russia is developing” that the US believes could fundamentally cripple the military and the American way of life.

The names of other US enemies were also floated by mainstream politicians.

“Today’s cell phone outage should serve as a stark reminder of the cyber security threat that America faces every day,” Michigan’s Mike Rogers, who is running for a Senate seat, wrote on X:

I’m no conspiracy theorist, but if I were, I would put the cell phone outage on China doing a test run

— OK Kyle🌴 (@KyleCalifornia_) February 22, 2024

“We must be prepared in the event that China, Russia, Iran, or any of their proxies launch an attack on our critical infrastructure and harden our defenses to protect Americans,” Rogers added.

Another user shared to X: “I’m no conspiracy theorist, but if I were, I would put the cell phone outage on China doing a test run.”

Others, however, guessed that it could be aliens.

“Complete Lockdown, Phone Outage Nationwide. If Aliens ever were to Attack, now would be the perfect time…just saying,” one X user posted.

Another far-out theory suggested that Netflix was behind the blackout as part of an elaborate marketing scheme to promote its horror film starring Julia Roberts, “Leave the World Behind” — where satellites go offline in an apparent cyberattack, leaving all communications offline as characters panic about a societal breakdown.

“Leave the World Behind” was thrust into the middle of a conspiracy theory when it was first released in theaters in November when viewers noticed that Barack Obama was listed as a producer. AP

“Leave the World Behind” has been at the center of other conspiracy theories after counting former president Barack Obama as one of its producers.

This time, amid a nationwide outage eerily similar to the one featured in the movie, viewers said: “Well played #Netflix .. if you wanted us to watch #leavetheworldbehind then all you had to do was say that…This whole taking down #att network is a bit much.. but the marketing strategy is working. #sosonly #attoutage.”

The movie, however, isn’t new. It debuted in select theaters last November, and premiered on Netflix the following month.

Still, another wrote, “WHAT IN THE LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND IS GOING ON,” while a third chimed in: “Obama told us in that Netflix movie we was gone start having outages.”

Originally Appeared Here

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