The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will send most cell phone owners in the United States a text message Thursday.
It's a test of the agency's "presidential alert" system, which allows the president to send out national texts in the event of a catastrophe. The test message will read, "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed."
The presidential texting program was started in 2012, but it has not been tested before. Legally, a test is required at least once every three years.
While some have worried President Trump will use the presidential alert for personal or political ends, the texting system will not be an extension of his Twitter feed. Though "FEMA is under control of the executive branch (the head of FEMA is selected by the president, and reports to the Department of Homeland Security)," New York magazine explains. "The agency would have a vested interest in not seeing their alert system bent toward, uh, non-emergency ends."
The president is also not known for his tech savvy — he reportedly does not use a computer and calls an iPad "the flat one" — so sending a national text on his own during a 6 a.m. tweet session is implausible. Bonnie Kristian