SAN FRANCISCO—Over 225 million U.S. cellphones received a presidential alert system message on Wednesday, October 3 around 11:18 a.m. that was not from President Donald Trump.
The “Presidential Alert,” sent to cellphones read:
“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
The purpose of this message was to test the new alert system that is similar to AMBER alerts and weather alerts. The difference between these alerts and the presidential one is that cell phone users can not opt out of these alerts.
This system is to be used solely during emergency situations. This nationwide system reached 75 percent of the population by phone in a 30-minute period. Anyone in the United States with a smartphone that was turned on or near a signal tower received the message.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency indicate that President Trump will not be able to use it as his personal megaphone. Twitter users used the presidential alert as there own megaphone to make up memes and jokes.
Reactions were spread through Twitter feeds from recipients of the presidential alert. A fan page for Ellen DeGeneres, tweeted: “Well this was sweet. #PresidentialAlert and made a meme of the Presidential Alert that read Ellen is hilarious today. Check local listings.”
FEMA tweeted previous to the message being sent out. FEMA’s tweet read: “Today 10/3: At 2:18 PM EDT, we will be testing the Wireless Emergency Alert system nationwide. Expect a message box on your phone along with a loud tone and vibration. Questions? Visit fema.gov/emergency – alert”
FEMA indicated that the message would be sent out to WEA compatible cell phones that are switched on within range of an active cell tower and whose wireless provider participates in WEA should be capable of revived the message.