A public affairs division of the U.S. Department of Defense has come under fire for a tweet that appeared to threaten to blow up Millennials who were planning to participate in the “Storm Area 51″ event.
“It started off as a joke,” reports Forbes. “Matty Roberts created a Facebook event July 27, called it “Storm Area 51: They Can’t Stop All Of Us,” and scheduled it for September 20. After about three days, the event page took off, with over 2 million Facebook RSVPs and another 1.2 million marked as “interested” in attending before site administrators took it down.”
Only 150 people showed up Friday outside the secretive military base in Nevada rumored to house government secrets about extraterrestrial life and spaceships.
In response to planned “Storm Area 51″ event, the official account of the Defense Media Activity (DMA)’s Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) tweeted late Friday: “The last thing #Millennials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today.”
The post included a photo of a B-2 stealth bomber on a runway surrounded by servicemembers.
The tweet was widely condemned on Twitter before it was deleted.
“The military should not be threatening to kill citizens, not even misguided ones,” wrote Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.
“Last night a DVIDSHUB employee posted a tweet that in NO WAY supports the stance of the Department of Defense,” DVIDSHUB said in a statement to Task & Purpose on Saturday. “It was inappropriate and we apologize for this mistake.”
The tweet was not the first controversial usage of Twitter by the U.S. military.
On New Year’s Day, the U.S. Strategic Command, responsible for managing the nation’s nuclear arsenal, apologized for tweeting from its official account that it was prepared to drop something “much bigger” than the Times Square ball.
“#TimesSquare tradition rings in the #NewYear by dropping the big ball…if ever needed, we are #ready to drop something much, much bigger,” the command tweeted hours before the ball drop.
The tweet included a video showing a bomber dropping two conventional Massive Ordnance Penetrator bombs at a test range.