13 Tweets That Prove the Presidential Alert Was a Bad Idea
If you live in the U.S. and have a working mobile phone, you may be one of the 200 million+ people who received a jarring "presidential alert" emergency test text message this afternoon.
At precisely 2:17 p.m. EST on Wednesday (October 3), the "Trump Alert," as many are calling it, was sent to U.S. cell phone users nationwide as part of a trial for a previously unused emergency alert system. The message read, "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed."
As the BBC reports, "Unlike other alerts, such as natural disaster warnings, there was no way to opt out, except switching a device off or blocking its cellular connection."
Despite the concerning implications of a mandatory presidential alert, President Donald Trump was not actually involved in the test message distribution. Instead, the alert was organized by FEMA, which would be in "direct control of the system if a real alert was ordered by [Trump]."
For now, the alert system is intended to be used in the event of missile and/or terrorist attacks, threats of war or natural disasters. According to the U.S. Congress, there are supposed limits on when and for what the president can issue the alert. (Hopefully, this means we won't be subject to Trump's explosive, narcissistic late-night Twitter ramblings buzzing us awake in the middle of the night.)
Nevertheless, countless agitated recipients of the alert have expressed their frustration with and suspicion of the system in the form of memes on social media. See some reactions, below.