TikTok user @unknown1575489 only posted one video – and it has more than 5.5 million views.
In the video(opens in a new tab)On a busy street, the cameraman faces a person who walks away from him on the sidewalk. Except the person doesn’t actually leave; They look like they’ve “frozen” mid-step as the cars move on.
“Why is she frozen, dude? Brother, I’m tripping,” the TikTok poster asks aloud, before the person walking away from them picks up their pace and starts walking again. “What the hell?”
The video looks like it was posted to Snapchat first because it has the classic Snapchat text overlay that reads, “She was like this a minute ago.”
Most of the comments relate to The Matrix, Simulation theory or comparing our world to a video game (“She checked her inventory😂”). The video is captioned “NPC caught without #npc#malfunction” and the Hashtag #malfunction(opens in a new tab) has more than 245 million videos. The hashtagged videos range from clothing malfunctions to carnival ride mishaps to other similar “real-life mishaps.”
Part of the fascinating thing about videos like this—edited or not—is that they push the intrigue into simulation theory, which is the idea that all of existence is a simulated reality running in a computer or something. Elon Musk is one of the most prominent supporters of the simulation theory(opens in a new tab)but the subculture of believers is so thorough that it inspires A flaw in the matrixa documentary by Rodney Ascher that focuses less on the theory itself and more on why people believe it.