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You, and Everyone Else in the Whole Country, Just Got an Unsolicited Text From President Donald Trump

So what the hell is going on?

Common Dreams staff

Editor's note: If you read this article after 2:18 PM EDT, the headline has been changed from its original version. Earlier it was: "You, and Everyone Else in the Whole Country,  Are About to Get an Unsolicited Text From President Donald Trump"

Some have filed suit to stop it while others have argued there's nothing to worry about, but whether you like it or not at 2:18 PM EDT your phone buzzed an irritating sound and vibrated as you received an unsolicited text message from none other than President Donald Trump himself.

Minutes later, at 2:20 PM EDT, for those listening or tunied in, the radio and television versions of the same alert system will be launched.

So what the hell is going on?

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is in charge of the new system, the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) text message "will appear on consumers’ phones and read, 'THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.'  Phones will display this national test using the header 'Presidential Alert.'  These nationwide alerts, established pursuant to the WARN Act of 2006, are meant for use in a national emergency and are the only type of alert that can be sent simultaneously nationwide by FEMA."

According to Popular Mechanics:

The first ever "Presidential Alert" alert is similar to the Amber Alert and flood warnings you might receive in the wake of extreme weather events and the like, with one minor exception: It's the first ever to come with a "Presidential Alert" moniker. In a press release, the agency says the test will ensure "the operational readiness of alerting infrastructure" and identify any hiccups in its national emergency alert systems. It is no way a cause for alarm.

No cause for alarm?

As Common Dreams has previously reported, plenty of people are concerned that President Donald J. Trump will now have at his disposal as system that allows him to send an unsolicited and unblockable message to every American with a smart phone.

"I'm not sure that the system would protect us from rogue announcements by a president who has exhibited the kind of behavior President Trump has over the last two years," Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, told Vox in an interview last month. "I personally would not give this microphone to Donald Trump."

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