Explained: Covid-19 research with pre-2020 dates in Google search results


Senior Member.
I've been shown some Google searches which are claimed to be evidence of the Covid pandemic being planned, since the dates in the search results predate the pandemic itself. The linked articles themselves are not suspicious in the least. I'm thinking that this is just some kind of glitch/bug in the Google database, but can't find any info. Is anyone here better acquainted with this type of anomaly? I'm pretty sure I've seen similar stuff a few years ago, related to other conspiracy theories.

Here is the search I was sent:

Skärmavbild 2021-01-06 kl. 16.44.54.png

Thankful for any help!
Last edited by a moderator:

Mick West

Staff member
Quoting myself from five years ago:

Dates and times are frequently wrong on the internet. That's all there is to it.


Since this is known to happen, then the onus is on the theorist to demonstrate that the timestamps are correct.

Mick West

Staff member
With the example above, the technical issue (as in the three linked threads I gave) is that the web page header has no datetime meta tag. So Google looks through the text for what looks like an article date.

In this case there's a hidden list in the page source:
    <a href="https://www.immunology.ox.ac.uk/upcoming-events/neuroinflammation-meeting" class="state-published" title="An afternoon of talks from groups across the University working at the interface of immunology and neuroscience">
        <span>Neuroinflammation Meeting</span>


    <a href="https://www.immunology.ox.ac.uk/upcoming-events/oxford-immunology-symposium" class="state-published" title="A two-day showcase of the fantastic immunology, infection and inflammation research taking place across Oxford">
        <span>Oxford Immunology Symposium, 23-24 April 2019</span>


    <a href="https://www.immunology.ox.ac.uk/upcoming-events/hidi-day-1-oct-2018" class="state-published" title="Find out more about the Human Immune Discovery Initiative (HIDI)">
        <span>HIDI Day 1 Oct, 2018</span>


    <a href="https://www.immunology.ox.ac.uk/upcoming-events/basic-and-translational-immunology-course" class="state-published" title="Join Professor Abul Abbas for this one-day teaching course on 8th April, 2019, at Worcester College. This is an ideal opportunity for DPhil students, post-docs and clinicians to hear from a world-leading authority on translational immunology.">
        <span>Basic and Translational Immunology Course</span>


    <a href="https://www.immunology.ox.ac.uk/upcoming-events/hidi-day-2019-monday-21st-october" class="state-published" title="Learn more about the Human Immune Discovery Initiative (HIDI) and how it can support your research. Join us for an afternoon of talks from researchers who have successfully applied for funding from the HIDI Internal Fund to collaborate with HIDI Discovery Platforms.">
        <span>HIDI Day 2019, Monday 21st October</span>


One tag in the code:
<span>HIDI Day 1 Oct, 2018</span>

Is parsed as being the date, 1 Oct, 2018. In fact it's "HIDI Day 1" in Oct 2018.

The list is a list of links to other articles, and is included in the HTML code after the footer, and does not display. Like in other examples, it sloppy web page programming in two regards: not having a data meta tag, and having orphaned bits of html that contain things that look like article dates.

Some fault also goes to Google's programmers for being overly lenient in what they choose to take as a date tag.


Senior Member.
Looking at the page source, I see a list of news links including this:
    <a href="https://www.immunology.ox.ac.uk/upcoming-events/hidi-day-1-oct-2018" class="state-published" title="Find out more about the Human Immune Discovery Initiative (HIDI)">
        <span>HIDI Day 1 Oct, 2018</span>
My guess is that when the Google computer tries to date a page, it scans it for dates and makes some guesses as to which date is the correct posting date, and this time, it's simply wrong. There is no way for Google to learn the proper date of when this was posted.

You can follow the "link to paper" to bioarxiv, where it's dated as "Posted April 19, 2020."

Apologies to Mick, you posted while I was composing this.


Senior Member.
Thanks a lot, guys. The "sometimes dates are wrong on the internet" would be enough for me, but the technical explanations will let me write a little less vague answer. (Not that the person in question will believe me, but still...) :)
Thread starter Related Articles Forum Replies Date
Mick West Explained: "Disappearing needles" in Covid Vaccinations Coronavirus COVID-19 1
jarlrmai Explained: Reddit UFO Los Angeles lights in the sky [Light on Pole] Skydentify - What is that Thing in the Sky? 17
flarkey EXPLAINED: Weird Object on /r/aviation [Artbreeder GAN images] Skydentify - What is that Thing in the Sky? 30
jhunsley Explained: Panama UFO "Disc" [Cessna Taking Off] UFOs and Aliens 27
Mick West Explained: Mysterior Tower of Light in Shenyang, China General Discussion 3
N Explained: "Jellyfish object" video in Russia [Rocket Launch] Skydentify - What is that Thing in the Sky? 11
Oystein Debunked: Claim that Bobby McIlvaine's injuries ("lacerations") are best explained as result of glass shards and debris from bombs 9/11 22
W What exactly does “Explained:” mean in a thread title? Site Feedback & News 2
Mick West Explained: Birdwatcher's "Amazing UFO", Burwell Fen, UK. [C-130 Landing Lights] UFOs and Aliens 2
Mick West Explained: Tic-Tac UFO San Jacinto, Highway 62, California [Blimp] UFOs and Aliens 0
DavidB66 Explained: UFOs viewed from the ISS - Squid Boats UFOs and Aliens 17
A Explained: UFO Filmed from a Helicopter in Kamchatka, Russia. May 31, 2021 [Fake] UFOs and Aliens 2
R Explained: Video of Vandenberg UFO shooting down ICBM [reenactment] UFOs and Aliens 8
DavidB66 Explained: Student in Teignmouth, Devon sees UFO [Moon Obscured by Clouds] UFOs and Aliens 35
Q Explained: HomeSteadHow "UFO" Photos [Helicopter] UFOs and Aliens 54
Mick West Explained: Why Magnets Stick To Vaccination Sites (Or Your Nose) Conspiracy Theories 18
Mick West Explained: Odd Looking Bidens/Carters Photo - Not Fake, Just Perspective General Discussion 78
Mick West Explained: UFO Filmed With Telescope [Loon Balloon] Skydentify - What is that Thing in the Sky? 2
Mick West Explained: Sky Mapping at the Seattle Space Needle [Virtual, Not "Blue Beam] Conspiracy Theories 0
Patrick Gonzalez Explained: Why Biden is boarding C-32 instead of VC-25 Election 2020 35
TEEJ Explained: Inaguration Photos from Different Angles Show Different Backgrounds. Election 2020 9
P Explained: Exactly 5.55555556% (1/18) of votes for Trump across multiple precincts [Cherry Picked, Expected Ratios] Election 2020 20
DavidB66 Explained: Boris Johnson Photo With Confusing Reflection of Phone Cord Election 2020 12
Mick West Explained: Wingless Tic-Tac UFOs Moving Erratically Behind Trees UFO Videos and Reports from the US Navy 2
Mick West Explained: 9:33 AM ET Time on NPR Story about Storming the Capitol Election 2020 0
Mick West Explained: 82nd Airborne: "A Storm Is Coming" - Operation Devil Storm Conspiracy Theories 12
Mick West Explained: Fulton County, Georgia, "Suitcases" of Ballots being Scanned Election 2020 1
Z.W. Wolf Explained: Red Mirages, Blue Shifts, and Data Dumps in the 2020 Election Election 2020 21
Mick West Explained: Trump's Claim of Suspicious Early Morning Michigan Bump [It's Detroit] Election 2020 1
Mick West Explained: New Navy UFO Videos UFO Videos and Reports from the US Navy 210
Eleora Explained: "Quantum Dots" - Storing medical information below the skin’s surface Coronavirus COVID-19 13
Cassi O Polaris Height Perspective Explained (No math required) Flat Earth 1
Mick West Explained: RARE Video Footage of "Alien Space Craft" WATCHING ISS Astronaut! UFOs and Aliens 1
A Explained: astronaut's movement causes lunar flag to wave in Apollo 15 footage Conspiracy Theories 0
Mick West Explained: The "Many Faces" of Patrick Crusius, the El Paso Shooter Conspiracy Theories 22
Mick West Explained: "Beam of Light" in To The Stars Academy header images UFOs and Aliens 0
Mick West Explained: "UFOS" in Donald Trump's Crowd Photo on 4th of July UFOs and Aliens 3
D Explained: Photo of 747 with Contrails Only on One Side [Fake, April Fool] Contrails and Chemtrails 21
Qulaey Explained: 17.61 Mile Mirror Flash Supposedly Proves Flat Earth [Refraction] Flat Earth 5
Mick West Explained: The Navy's New "UFO" Reporting Guidelines UFO Videos and Reports from the US Navy 32
Mick West Explained: "It's photoshopped because it has to be" Flat Earth 3
Mick West Explained: Jet Chasing UFO: X-45A and F/A-18B Formation Flight Skydentify - What is that Thing in the Sky? 6
Trailblazer Explained: video of concentric circular "chemtrails" (E-3 Sentry AWACS plane, Feb 1 2019) Skydentify - What is that Thing in the Sky? 3
Rory Explained: How Mount Rainier helps demonstrate the shape of the globe Flat Earth 38
creatonez Explained: Why the Earth does not look oblate in photos from space Flat Earth 5
MikeG Explained: EU Army Deployed to Paris Conspiracy Theories 1
Mick West Explained: Unexplained Green Light During Thunderstorm [Water on Lens, Caustics] Skydentify - What is that Thing in the Sky? 7
Mick West Explained: Flashes of Light During the World Trade Center Collapse 9/11 5
Mick West Explained: House "Cut in Half", Tubbs Fire, Santa Rosa, Coffey Park Wildfires 0
Mick West Explained: Burnt Cars on California Beach [TV Set] Wildfires 1
Related Articles

Related Articles