Amid OpenAI drama, ChatGPT went down last night, and people didn't know what to do

fizkes/ShutterStock Diego Thomazini/ShutterStock (Licensed)

As Sam Altman goes back to Open AI, ChatGPT crashes

Are they connected?


Marlon Ettinger


Posted on Nov 22, 2023

A whirlwind of news over the weekend after OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was fired led to days of speculation about the future of ChatGPT, the company’s flagship interactive chatbot that’s trying to mimic human intelligence.

Then yesterday evening, ChatGPT went down for users all around the world, leading some people to worry that the program was sunk or that Altman’s outing caused a breakdown.

“ChatGPT going down (possibly forever) just as college students approach their finals is *chef’s kiss* to every degree possible,” joked @pankisseskafka on X.

“trying to write a 3000 word essay and chatgpt is down 💔💔💔 lord pls,” wrote another person.

The unexplained outage came after nearly all of the company’s employees signed an open letter to the board threatening to quit if Altman wasn’t reinstated as CEO.

A clear explanation for Altman’s firing hasn’t been provided by the board members yet, though unverified rumors flew around on social media that it had something to do with a conflict between “safetyist” board members who want to slow the development of artificial intelligence over concerns about its dangers and less cautious players like Altman

Early Wednesday morning, OpenAI announced that Altman would return as CEO with a new board including former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.

In the meantime, people online grappled with what to do without the tool, with plenty of people wondering how they were going to complete their school assignments.


Others posted about what they were going to do if their boss asked them to rewrite something.

“just saw someone say they’re struggling to program at work because chatgpt is down,” wrote another person. “the future is here, truly[.]

And with the fate of OpenAI still uncertain at the time, others wondered who was going to fix the problem if there was nobody at the company.

The outage affected both paid and subscription accounts. No chat histories were visible and any attempt to interact with the program was met with an error message.


According to OpenAI’s Status webpage, an elevated level of ChatGPT API errors were detected by the company around 2:09 PM PST. The outage was resolved by 5:46 PM. Though no explanation was given for the downtime, the webpage published a statement saying they planned to publish a public postmortem

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*First Published: Nov 22, 2023, 8:40 am CST