On Sept. 20, 2019, 1500 people arrived at a heavily guarded top secret military airbase in Rachel, Nevada, popularly known as Area 51. This came after a cultural phenomenon was born on the internet when a Facebook group known as “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” had over 3.5 million users saying that they were going or interested in going to the raid of Area 51.
A highly classified U.S. Air Force base, Area 51, otherwise known as Homey Airport, has been engulfed in rumors about it being a possible testing site for extraterrestrial life and technology for many decades, so the creator of the Facebook group, Matty Roberts, thought it was prime potential for a funny meme.
“I posted it on June 27, and it was kind of a joke,” Roberts told KSLA TV, “and then it just completely took off, out of nowhere. It’s pretty wild.”
Roberts’ joke quickly went viral, with over two million people declaring they were going to be attending the event, and another 1.5 million saying they were interested in it.
However, Facebook was not the only platform in which the Area 51 Raid became popular. Many of the students of Mt. Hebron found out about this through other social media platforms such as Tiktok, Reddit, Instagram, and more. But it also spread in other ways, with sophomore Isaac Noll saying he found it through word of mouth, “nobody would stop talking about it.”
At first, this plan was not taken seriously by the United States government, but with the Facebook group becoming more and more popular, the U.S. began to view this Facebook group as a threat to National Security. The guards of Area 51 were warned about a possible attack or something else in that vein might occur on Sept. 20.
Eventually the day came and no raid took place but rather a gathering of around 3000 internet enthusiasts went to Nevada to party with one another. One person was arrested, One additional person detained, and no one was injured. Many still had a fun time even though no evidence of alien life was found.