People Gobsmacked After Finding Out What Ticking ‘I Am Not A Robot’ Actually Does


Everyone is accustomed to the tiny tick box that appears while online browsing.

Sometimes it comes with a set of pictures in which you have to choose all the “traffic lights,” “stop signs,” or “fire hydrants.”

YouTube: BBC

Everyone performs them without a second thought, but it turns out that it is a little more difficult than that.

In a QI episode, host Sandi Toksvig gave this explanation to Alan Davies, David Mitchell, Maisie Adams, and Holly Walsh.

Toksvig said: “So ticking the box is not the point. It’s how you behaved before you ticked the box that is analysed.

“So, to be honest, I can’t tell you all the details because they keep it secret because they don’t want people trying to cheat the test, but broadly speaking, you tick the box and it prompts the website to check your browsing history. 

“So let us say, for example, before you tick the box you watched a couple of cat videos and you liked a tweet about Greta Thunberg, you checked your Gmail account before you got down to work – all of that makes them think that you must be a human.

“And checking the box can even spur it to analyse the way in which you moved your mouse across screen. It’s slightly spooky, I think. 

“Essentially, when you are clicking ‘I am not a robot’ box, you are instructing the site to have a look at your data and decide for itself. 

“If the machine is not sure, that’s when it directs you to click on lightroom pictures of fire hydrants that aren’t there.” 

Due to a TikTok video by Australian radio hosts Fitzy and Wippa where they debated it on air, this explanation has resurrected.

The video has had over 516.2K Likes and over 5M views. The response has been mixed with some shocked viewer agreeing and others are trying to disprove the claims.