Shane Dawson iPhone Conspiracies & Horror Stories

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After watching the latest video of a conspiracy theory series on YouTube posted by Shane Dawson, many iPhone users feel less comfortable using their phones. Published on January 30, Dawson’s video, titled “Conspiracy Theories with Shane Dawson,” has already gained 29 million views. Accompanied by dark visuals and music to add to the eerie tone, the lengthy video covers conspiracies about a variety of topics, from the California wildfires to children’s TV shows.

For some THHS students, the most intriguing and relatable conspiracies were those related to their iPhones, namely their ability to record us when we are unaware.

Junior Victoria Jameson tested out one of Shane’s theories, which claims that a caller can hear what the receiver of the call said right before picking up the phone. She had her friend call her phone multiple times. Nothing suspicious happened until “One time, my friend heard what I said before I picked up,” she said. Victoria and her friends “all started to freak out,” as they, and many other viewers of Shane’s video, did not expect their private words to be heard so easily without their permission.

The same issue can occur with FaceTime. “One time I FaceTimed a friend while he was in the shower and his phone automatically picked up,” said junior Anish Sharma. He was unaware until I started speaking super loudly.”

“It is a little creepy and crazy how someone can listen into my conversation without me knowing,” said junior Saaya Patel, after watching the conspiracy video.

A third theory involving “Live Photos” (short videos viewed by pressing on an image) worried junior Victoria Sokolowska the most. On Live Photo mode, she tested the function by counting to three out loud before pressing the photo button. Just as Shane described, the short video somehow captured her counting when played back, despite that it should only record what is spoken after. “Apple has no way of knowing when the photo is going to be taken, so it must always be recording. Obviously, this is quite unsettling,” she explained.

These fears have extended past Shane’s theories as well. A “Live Listen” feature on iPhones allows users with AirPods (wireless earbuds) to essentially eavesdrop on others by placing their phone near those speaking and listen from afar via the AirPods. Sophomore Joshua Vieira commented that he, fortunately, doesn’t know anyone who uses the function in this way, but if it were used on him, he “would be pretty angry. It’s an invasion of privacy.”

Apple has already fixed some of these bugs, but Dawson’s conspiracy video has left a gnawing uneasiness among iPhone users.

Still, it is difficult to claim that these videos will significantly affect the use of iPhones. Victoria Sokolowska “doubt[s] that these conspiracies will change [her] perspective on Apple products,” as she still considers their devices some of “the best on the market.”

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