A Viral Tweet Suggested That Google Is Shutting Down Gmail — Are the Rumors True?

The alleged SVP of Product at Google tweeted that it would shut down Gmail for good. But is it true or just an internet hoax?

Jamie Lerner - Author

Feb. 23 2024, Published 2:53 p.m. ET

Gmail logo on phone in front of Gmail logo
Source: Getty Images

The most widely used email service in the world, Gmail, made headlines after an internet troll decided to mess with the anxieties of Gmail’s 1.8 billion users. On Feb. 22, 2024, a man named Chris Bakke claimed to be the SVP of Product and shared a screenshot of a seemingly legit message that said Gmail would shut down officially on Aug. 1, 2024.

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This is obviously a terrifying prospect for people all over the world. Not only do we use Gmail to send and receive emails, but many important documents, tickets, account passwords, and more bits and bobs of information are stored in our Gmail accounts. So are the rumors true — is Google really shutting down Gmail or is it just an internet hoax?

Gmail on phone in front of Gmail inbox
Source: Getty Images
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Google is not shutting down Gmail — it was just a hoax.

While Chris Bakke’s message may have seemed real on a first glance, quick digging proves that he’s just another troll. His initial tweet said, “I’m the SVP of Product at Google ($28.8M TC). Last night, Sundar asked me to ‘fire the entire Gemini team.’ I misread his message (insanely bad service at my [7-bedroom], [11-bathroom] cabin in Park City) and I accidentally fired the entire Gmail team. Gmail…Gemini."

“Look at that quickly without your glasses when you're 7 margaritas deep at the fire pit on a Wednesday and you'd make the same error. I mean you get how that's confusing right? Anyway, I’m rolling with the decision. Gmail’s gone,” he continued.

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The message itself has a lot of clues that it’s coming from a troll. Firstly, the fact that he mixed up Gemini and Gmail is laughable, and secondly, his reference to a 7-bedroom 11-bathroom cabin is comical. No home would have more bathrooms than bedrooms, especially not a “cabin in Park City.” And if it did, we doubt there would be bad service. Even still, his photoshopped screenshot looked so real that it scared readers.

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The message stated, “We are reaching out to share an important update about Gmail. After years of connecting millions worldwide, enabling seamless communication, and fostering countless connections, the journey of Gmail is coming to a close. As of August 1, 2024, Gmail will officially be sunsetted, marking the end of its service. This means that as of this date, Gmail will no longer support sending, receiving, or storing emails.” While it may have looked real, there’s no reason to worry.

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Google confirmed on their own official Twitter account that Gmail is here to stay.

Luckily for us, Google quickly clapped back to the rumors from their Gmail Twitter account with a tweet that said, “Gmail is here to stay.” Beyond this, some investigation proves that Chris is actually a “notorious s--tposter,” according to Business Insider. Allegedly, he one time used “a photoshopped news article about Mcdonald’s Hamburglar to make fun of the New York Times profile of Elizabeth Holmes.”

So this is not Chris’s first go-round when it comes to mocking the masses. In addition, it seems that his seemingly official screenshot was actually doctored from Google’s announcement that they’d be discontinuing the default Gmail view from “basic HTML” to a new, sleeker view. That’s not nearly as big a deal as shutting down Gmail.

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Even still, people were quick to share their fears. “Really confused if this is real or not,” one person wrote on Twitter. Another was actually in favor of the fake shutdown — “Hope they shut it down,” they said. “No security or privacy.” Well, they don’t have to use it then!

But for all of us who do use Gmail, it’s definitely here to stay.

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