Avoiding Donald Trump’s tweets was a difficult task during the election and even more so now that Trump has become the president-elect as he can be found tweeting about vote recount efforts and criticizing Saturday Night Live! on a regular basis. What if we told you soon you won’t be able to dodge texts from President Trump?
As president, Trump will have the power to mass text everyone in the U.S. as Select All and one Twitter user have reminded people.
Congress demanded that carriers make presidential alerts unblockable. So now you'll be getting the 3 am phone call.https://t.co/XPHaL9NHNq— Chris Lawrence (@lordsutch) November 29, 2016
The texts would be possible through Wireless Emergency Alerts (or WEAs). According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) WEAs include Amber Alerts, alerts for severe weather (think flash floods), “alerts involving imminent threats to safety or life” like an evacuation of an area, and finally, president-issued alerts. Zone specific alerts are sent to a person, should their wireless carrier, and cell phone, allow for the service, even if they’re only visiting the area affected by the zone specific alert. WEAs work through signals sent through cell towers. However, unlike the other alerts people can’t opt out of presidential alerts.
The alerts are a part of Congress’ Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act, passed in 2006. “In passing the WARN Act, Congress allowed participating carriers to offer subscribers the capability to block all WEAs except those issued by the President,” the FCC site states.
Despite the privilege not being unique to Trump, it seems considerably scarier under Trump considering his track record of tweeting at 3 a.m. and frequently tweeting disparagingly about people and things. But you can sleep well at night because the alerts have to go through FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) before being sent.
You can read up more on WEAs here.