(CBSDFW.COM/CBSNEWS) – It didn’t take long for the internet to buzz with reaction to the country’s first nationwide tweet from President Trump.
The test hit Wednesday at 1:18 p.m. CT, and was the first test of a National Presidential Alert System allowing Trump to issue a warning about a crisis. That could include a missile launched by another country at the U.S. or a tsunami.
“When those messages appear on mobile devices, people should take those extremely seriously,” FEMA’s Antwane Johnson told CBS News correspondent Anna Werner. “It has some direct impact on either life or safety.”
But reaction was anything but serious for many…
FEMA’s public alert warning system sent out the nationwide test.
“If we have something that’s of national significance, we can rapidly notify the American public of that event,” said explained Johnson.
Government agencies nationwide have issued more than 40,000 emergency alerts to cell phones since 2012. But those Amber and weather alerts target specific regions. This new presidential alert is nationwide and will only be used for advance warning of national crises.
“It should be reserved for true situations, true emergencies when we need to get the public’s attention,” former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said, adding it is designed to be used very specifically – and rarely.
“This is something that should not be used for a political agenda,” Jeh Johnson said. That’s especially important because no one can opt out of these alerts, he said.
Whether the alert should or shouldn’t be politicized didn’t stop people for calling out the administration, saying that’s exactly what it did.
Late Night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel poked fun at the politics of calling the text a “Presidential Alert.” He tweeted: Witch Hunt, Crooked Hillary, No Collusion, Confirm Kavanaugh, #MAGA.
“Now you know you say presidential alert and some people are thinking, ‘Aw man, I see President Trump sending out Twitter messages all day long. Does this mean I’m going to get whatever message President Trump wants to send out through this alert system now?’ “CBS News correspondent Anna Werner asked Johnson.
“No, not at all. One thing that we need make very clear is that there are laws, policies and procedures that are in place, other protocols to assure that the system is used in accordance with its intended use as defined by the law,” Johnson responded.
The San Diego Zoo didn’t seem to mind a tweet from Trump at all, and even used it as a reason to send out an adorable tweet. EMERGENCY ALERT; THIS IS A TEST, they tweeted. “We’re reaching panda-emic levels of cute.”
Model Chrissy Teigen, 32, who has never hidden her disdain for Trump tweeted: “NOOOOOOO THE ALERT. IT HAPPENED.”
Alerts are not foolproof however. In January, Hawaii’s emergency management agency mistakenly sent out an alert warning of a ballistic missile threat to more than a million cell phones. Mistakes like that could make people nervous about this new nationwide alert.
“The fact that you can’t turn this alert off, that it will be something that will arrive on your phone whether you like it or not, I think was perhaps upsetting and concerning to some people,” said Andy Whitehouse, who teaches communications at Columbia University.
Famed Trump adversary Hillary Clinton joined in on Twitter, too, sending out the message: “Making sure this works.”
Three New Yorkers filed a federal lawsuit last week attempting to block the test, saying it violates free speech and is an unconstitutional seizure of electronic devices. The test will set off the same loud sound used for other alerts. If your cell is on and you have service, you will likely receive it and cannot stop it.
Non-celebs joined in on the fun too, poking fun at past presidential tweets.
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