SA throws shade at US's Area 51 gimmick event

17 July 2019 - 13:55 By NIVASHNI NAIR
More than 1.3 million people have indicated on Facebook that they're going to the 3am joke event on September 20 to storm the military base.
More than 1.3 million people have indicated on Facebook that they're going to the 3am joke event on September 20 to storm the military base.
Image: via Facebook,Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us

South Africans are throwing shade at American social media users who are obsessed with a "joke event" involving a millitary base, the US's controversial Area 51, and aliens.

While there are reports that some social media users are serious about the latest weird and wacky internet event, "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us", South Africans are bemused. 

Analysing the more than 4,000 local items posted about the event on social media over a seven-day period, Acumen Media revealed that South Africans were bewildered and fascinated at "how silly the concept is".

"However, they are not looking away and are as equally fascinated as they are bemused," Acumen social media analyst Tonya Khoury said.

More than 1.3 million people internationally have indicated on Facebook that they're going to the 3am event on September 20 to storm the military base.

"We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction and co-ordinate our entry. If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Let's see them aliens," states the description of the event on Facebook. Naruto refers to a unique running style of an anime character.

According to Wikipedia, Area 51 is the common name of a highly classified US Air Force facility in the Nevada Test and Training Range. The intense secrecy surrounding the base has made it the frequent subject of conspiracy theories and a central component to unidentified flying object (UFO) folklore.

Khoury told TimesLIVE that #StormArea51 was not just a global story, but had a huge focus in SA.

"Twitter is the main platform and each tweet garners an average of three responses."

More than 2,000 tweets on the subject emanated from Cape Town.

According to Google SA, "Area 51 raid date" trended on Monday, with more than 2,000 searches.

"The term Area 51 invasion trended on Saturday with about 2,000 searches. Area 51 trended on Friday with some 10 000 searches," said the search engine.

Despite decoding the social media posts from SA, analysts are unable to say if any South Africans are serious about finding the truth at Area 51. 

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