The tone went off at 2:18 p.m. EDT. But FEMA officials said the administration can only send these alerts for emergencies affecting the whole country or if the public was in danger, according to Bloomberg. Despite the text saying "no action is needed", people did react: with anger, laughter, frustration, and even memes. So, does that mean President Trump just sent an emergency text alert to every phone in the US?
The test was originally scheduled for September 20, but it was rescheduled because of the ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence. THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System.
As it says, this is only a test!
The message will say: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System".
It's the same kind of message that warns people of critical situations, including risky weather, but the test was put on hold due to a real emergency last month.
In New York, U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla rejected a last-minute effort to block the test.
The presidential alert can only be activated by the current president, but the reasons for doing so are legally defined. Back in 2013, a number of far-right bloggers, including Alex Jones, were up in arms over reports that then President Barack Obama was "loading iPhones with emergency alerts" that you couldn't opt out of.
Delivered to 225 million mobile devices, or 75 per cent of America's mobile phones, it comes with a noisy alarm and a text message, representing the latest incarnation of the doomsday warning that Americans might receive in the event of an imminent national emergency.
It's coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which is conducting an emergency alert test to prepare in case there's ever a true national emergency.
The Southern District of NY court docket indicates summons were issued to Trump and FEMA Director William "Brock" Long on September 26. Essentially, plaintiffs are concerned that because President Donald Trump consistently "disseminates ... politically biased messages" they worry the same thing will happen with the alerts.
The judge asked a government lawyer if there were standards in place to prevent someone from using the system for political purposes.
"So some people got the presidential alert and some people didn't?"
Thousands of people across southern Colorado received a text alert from FEMA Wednesday.
The message was also scheduled to appear on some smartwatches connected to cell phones, FEMA said.