Fact Check: Google Is NOT Sunsetting Gmail On August 1, 2024

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Google Is NOT Sunsetting Gmail On August 1, 2024 Satire

Did Google send out a notification that it would end Gmail service on August 1, 2024? No, that's not true: The company denied that, and no credible sources reported that the announcement in question has ever been made. Early posts about the end of Gmail came from accounts known for posting trolling content.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on X, formerly known as Twitter, on February 22, 2024. The claim read:

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 7br 11bath cabin in Park City) and I accidentally fired the entire Gmail team.


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.

This is what the post looked like at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2024-02-23 at 10.32.04 AM.png

(Source: X screenshot taken on Fri Feb 23 15:32:04 2024 UTC)

The tone of the post was ironic, but it contained what looked like a screenshot of an official Google announcement. The screenshot's text stated:

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.

Chris Bakke, the author of the post, who described himself as the senior VP of product at Google, works for a different company (archived here) -- X. And he has a history (archived here) of posting fake content to spark an audience response, Business Insider reported.

On the same day as Bakke's post, February 22, 2024, Gmail refuted the claim (archived here) on its X account:

Screen Shot 2024-02-23 at 10.40.55 AM.png

(Source: X screenshot taken on Fri Feb 24 15:40:55 2024 UTC)

Lead Stories checked other sources, too, for any references to Gmail's supposed phasing out.

Google did not announce the end of Gmail in its Press Corner (archived here.)

A search for the phrase "Google is sunsetting Gmail" on both Google News (archived here) and Yahoo News (archived here) produced results that described the claim as a "hoax."

In January 2024 (archived here), Google started to sunset a different item -- Gmail's HTML basic view (archived here), a feature that allowed people to quickly access their accounts despite a slow internet connection or outdated browsers or devices.

Bakke's mention of Google's Gemini (archived here), which is an AI model, appears to be a reference to a recent controversy surrounding the product. On February 21, 2024, the New York Post (archived here) wrote that Gemini creates what was described as "historically inaccurate pictures -- including a woman as pope, black Vikings, female NHL players and 'diverse' versions of America's Founding Fathers." Elon Musk, who owns X, where Bakke works, wrote that Gemini is "super racist" (archived here.) In response, Google paused (archived here) Gemini's ability to generate images of people and said that the company was "working to address recent issues."

In mid-2023, Musk announced (archived here) the creation of a new company xAI, aimed at understanding "the true nature of the universe," and later that year presented its own chatbot. Both the company and the chatbot have received skeptical reviews (archived here).

Lead Stories contacted Google and X for additional commentary. If we receive responses, this article will be updated as appropriate.

Other Lead Stories fact checks of claims about technology are here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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