If you were thinking of attending the viral ‘Storm Area 51’ raid/festival/calamity, you’ll have to find a new platform to plan your Naruto run: the omnipotent, omnipresent force that is Facebook has pulled the plug on the original Area 51 event page, shutting down the crazily popular event (emphasis on crazy?) that over 2 million Facebook users had pledged to attend!
Event creator Mathew Roberts - who started ‘Storm Area 51’ as a joke and then tried to turn it into a Coachella-esque music festival at the most restricted militarized facility in the Nevada desert - says he was given no explanation for the sudden shutdown, except that it violated Facebook’s “Community Standards.” Roberts, who in addition to storming military bases also enjoys calling the kettle black, commented that it’s “pretty reckless of Facebook” to remove the event page, and says another page he created for a sister event was also erased from existence. Did Facebook make the right move? Will the event page’s deletion do anything to deter the millions of people who are already planning to storm Area 51? Check out the emerging details in the article below, originally published by CNET:
Area 51 raid event 'to see them aliens' removed by Facebook
In July a tongue-in-cheek Facebook event was created to coordinate a raid on Area 51, the classified military base in Las Vegas, Nevada. It became an online sensation. Over 2 million Facebook users signed up, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert gave it a spot on their respective talk shows, and the US Air Force strongly advised citizens against raiding the facility. But now, the Facebook event page has been taken down.
It appears as though Facebook took the page down on Aug. 3 for violating community standards. Mathew Roberts, the event creator, posted a screenshot on his personal Facebook page of the notice Facebook had sent him saying it had taken down the event because it "went against" Facebook's "Community Standards."
"I never got any reason behind the event being removed," Roberts told CNET. "I created a sister event which amassed about 15,000 people before being taken down for no reason."
After starting the Facebook event as a joke, Roberts is now planning an actual Area 51 festival in Nevada to take place Sept. 20, the day the facetious raid was to go down. He says he created another Facebook event, this time for the real festival that would take place somewhere that's not a highly-classified military base, but this too was taken down by the social network.
"I think it's pretty reckless of Facebook, especially because I'm trying to direct people away from storming the base," Roberts said. "And now I've lost my entire audience." Roberts expects around 20,000 people to attend the festival.
Facebook has been contacted for comment.
The now-deleted Facebook event came with a brief description: "We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction and coordinate our entry," it read. "If we Naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Let's see them aliens."
The Facebook event created the Area 51 meme, which became a fixture on Twitter and Reddit throughout July. You can see some of our favourites below.
Area 51 is a highly classified zone around 150 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada, a detachment of the famed Edwards Air Force Base. No one really knows what the base is used for, but it's speculated to be a location for aircraft development, and as such Area 51 has become synonymous with alien conspiracies. The most popular involve alien spaceships or aliens themselves, all allegedly kept within the classified zone.
The location reportedly received its name when, in 1951, the remains of the alleged Roswell UFO (said to have crashed in 1947) were brought to the base. In 2013, the CIA issued a 355-page declassified report detailing the birth of Area 51 and the U-2 spy planes developed and tested there.
What do you think about the Area 51 raid and Facebook’s removal of the event page? Is Facebook censoring freedom of information, or protecting the public from a bad idea? Discuss your thoughts in the comments!
You can also click here to listen to The Confessionals Podcast’s interview with Mathew Roberts in Episode 143: Storm Area 51, before his famous Facebook page was shut down!