- These high school theater kids put on a totally awesome ‘Alien’ play Saturday 3:59 PM
- Behold these photos of Elon Musk, but with Elizabeth Holmes’ eyes Saturday 3:11 PM
- Barbra Streisand gets canceled over remarks about Michael Jackson’s alleged victims Saturday 2:09 PM
- Report: Florida man raped Texas teen after posing as Instagram celeb Saturday 12:14 PM
- Lori Loughlin’s daughters, Olivia and Isabella, could be banned from USC forever Saturday 11:46 AM
- ‘Starfish’ is a heartbreaking tale of BFFs, grief, and apocalyptic alien invasions Saturday 10:35 AM
- How to stream UFC Fight Night 148 for free Saturday 10:00 AM
- The kids are making scantron memes instead of studying Saturday 9:29 AM
- Every installment of Hulu’s ‘Into the Dark,’ ranked Saturday 6:00 AM
- The internet is mocking Robert Mueller’s report deadline Friday 7:53 PM
- Instagram blocks some anti-vax hashtags—but still has far to go Friday 6:20 PM
- Study: Netflix released more originals than licensed titles last year Friday 2:26 PM
- Laura Ingraham, Dinesh D’Souza slam journalist for having a job Friday 1:40 PM
- Netflix is testing a cheap-as-hell mobile-only plan Friday 1:08 PM
- Astrology app Co-Star’s bizarre push notifications are now a meme Friday 12:18 PM
Evan El-Amin/Shutterstock (Licensed)
It starts next week.
Personal emergency alerts from President Donald Trump are set to test on your smartphone next week, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system is already in use in the U.S.—smartphone users are likely familiar with the loud, droning tone of flood warnings or Amber alerts.
The new test will use the same tone to alert users of communication directly from the president in the case of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and other events of significant national import. It will test on Sept. 20, FEMA representatives say.
According to FEMA, more than 100 mobile carriers will participate in the system, including major carriers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.
While some have expressed concerns about the system, given Trump’s unhinged communications on Twitter, the system won’t be used for political rhetoric, since the 2015 legislation that authorizes it explicitly states that the system cannot be used for anything other than alerting the public to major threats to public safety.
“This is a great idea and an amazing use of technology to reach everybody if they’re in harm’s way,” Karen North, the director of the Annenberg Digital Social Media program at the University of Southern California, told NBC News.
Furthermore, it could be an essential step in keeping Americans safe when many of us are tied to our phones.
The test will last for about 30 minutes, beginning at 2:18pm ET on Thursday. All mobile phones that are switched on and within the range of a cell tower should receive the message if their provider is participating in the test.
The message should read, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is required,” and should have a header that reads, “Presidential Alert.” If for some reason there’s interference with Thursday’s test, a backup is scheduled for Oct. 3.
Ellen Ioanes is the FOIA reporter at the Daily Dot, where she covers U.S. politics. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School, and her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Center for Public Integrity, HuffPost India, and more.