So who is really behind the “Storm Area 51” viral Facebook page?

Tyler S. Farley

As I’m sure you’re well aware, there is a strange and viral Facebook page that is getting international attention for its call asking members to storm the Nevada military base known as Area 51.

What has me interested in this particular viral incident is that the narrative explaining who is behind the page doesn’t really make sense, at least not to me. Of course, I will admit I am not the most versed in who happens to be the hottest streamer on Twitch at the moment or who runs the dankest meme page on Facebook (isn’t Facebook all dead memes?) but I do know enough to think something strange is going on here.

According to the Washington Post and other sources, the page was started by a “popular” Twitch streamer named Smyleekun. The reason I used the quotes is because Smyleekun has only 300 followers on Instagram and even less on Twitter. Both of his accounts seem to share the exact same copied postings. On Twitch, he has just over 1000 followers, which is not that many. Twitch is similar to other social media platforms where 1000 followers is not a lot at all.

According to Twitch metrics, the peak number of viewers Smyleekun has had this month is 16.  So with a peak number of viewers of only 16, why is the mainstream media labeling him a “popular streamer” capable of launching a viral Facebook campaign?

The page is also hosted by group called “Shitposting cause im in shambles”.  The admin of this group is not public, but the page was started just a few months ago on the 19th of February. It seems to contain mostly recycled meme content until this latest viral post about Area 51.

So of course as we all know things going viral are not that out of the ordinary on social media. However, can someone with 16 peak viewers for the month be responsible for launching an international viral Facebook group? I don’t think so and that seems highly unlikely.

Another odd thing is why has Facebook not taken down the group? Despite it being comical in nature, you would think a group planning to storm a military base would be grounds for removal by Facebook, especially after the international attention. Even if Facebook didn’t care, you would think the military would ask that the page to be removed as the event could easily get out of hand even if it’s just a joke.

In fact, the military and the Nevada base where the supposed Area 51 resides is aware of the page and have even put out a public statement. The statement was rather mild and simply reminds people that it’s a bad idea to storm an active military base.

Air Force spokesperson Laura McAndrews said the following when speaking to the Washington Post:

“[Area 51] is an open training range for the U.S. Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces,” McAndrews said. “The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.”

So this leaves us with the question as to who really started this viral campaign and who is behind it? The story given so far doesn’t really make sense, and why has Facebook not taken action to remove the group?

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