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If you want to catch Squid Game in its pristine, first-aired sate at Netflix, you probably don’t have long. Not because the smash dystopian series is going anywhere, mind you: It’s just getting some light edits after the streamer learned that the supposedly fictional phone numbers seen onscreen are actually connected to real-life human beings… and that they’ve been getting tons of calls from curious fans.
Entertainment Weekly reports that Netflix has agreed to make the changes after an unnamed person (who’s no doubt already had enough unexpected publicity) began “receiving a deluge of prank calls and text messages” from people who spied his digits on the show.
Becoming an unintentional beneficiary of Squid Game’s runaway success has proven more than a mild inconvenience for the hapless real-life human on the other end of the line. “After Squid Game aired, I have been receiving calls and texts endlessly, 24/7, to the point that it's hard for me to go on with daily life,” the person told K-pop outlet Koreaboo.
“This is a number that I've been using for more than 10 years, so I'm quite taken aback," the phone number owner added. "There are more than 4,000 numbers that I've had to delete from my phone and it's to the point where, due to people reaching out without a sense of day and night due to their curiosity, my phone's battery is drained and turns off.”
Thanks to the series’ repeated use of what were supposed to be film-appropriate, made-up phone numbers, he’s not the only one whose phone has been lighting up. Reuters reports that a South Korean woman also received a high volume of calls after her number appeared on the show, which displays images of the numbers on the back of the business cards that the deadly game’s contestants use to sign up for their high-stakes chance at winning a huge cash prize (or die trying).
Netflix says it plans to edit out the numbers, which the streamer (along with production company Siren Pictures) maintain were meant to be fake from the start. “Together with the production company, we are working to resolve this matter, including editing scenes with phone numbers where necessary,” the streamer said, along with a plea for fans to refrain from dialing the numbers, in a statement quoted by Reuters.
Squid Game has only been on Netflix since Sept. 17, but with its dark tale of a totalitarian-controlled “game” where a second-place finish means death, it’s already turned into a huge streaming hit as well as a viral phenomenon. If you don’t yet know what all the fuss is about, we’ve got you covered here before you head to Netflix to check out the show. If you’ve already seen the entire series and find yourself craving more dystopian, rat-in-a-cage binging, no worries: We’ve got you covered there, too.