Facebook Says Viral Area 51 Event Page Was Removed 'By Mistake' Ahead of Music and Arts Festival

Facebook didn't mean to delete the wildly viral Storm Area 51 meme page, they explained in a comment to Newsweek. Meme creator Matty Roberts noticed the page was deactivated, and couldn't be contested, on Monday, though the page is now active again.

A spokesperson for the social media site told Newsweek: "This was a mistake and the event page is now available again" as of Tuesday.

The removal of the Facebook event page served as a problem for Roberts and his event collaborator, filmmaker Jeremy Corbell, as it's being used to advertise a safer version of the original event. Roberts first created the page as a joke, which encouraged viewers to "storm Area 51" to find proof of aliens. It claimed the military base "can't stop us all," and has received a "going" response from 2 million Facebook users.

Most can admit it's not entirely logical to actually storm the government base. Roberts never intended for an actual, illegal raid. Now, he and Corbell are advocating for a music and arts festival to be full of UFO-educated speakers. The gathering aims to be safe and fun and will take place at multiple official venues along the Extraterrestrial Highway in Rachel, Nevada on September 20.

AREA 51
Roadside artwork featuring a tow truck and a flying saucer is displayed at the Little A'le' Inn restaurant and gift shop on July 22, 2019, in Rachel, Nevada. David Becker/Getty

Roberts claimed he was unable to make a second or third advertisement after his Facebook page was taken down early this week. "The final two takedowns had no reason given for their deletion—no notification that they'd been deleted—they just disappeared," Roberts told Newsweek. "It spooked me out. We need to be able to let the public know what to do on September 20."

Corbell also expressed the importance of communicating the new plan to the same Facebook audience. "This is happening whether you, me, the military or Facebook like it or not," he told Newsweek. "People are going to the desert on September 20 and likely in staggering numbers. By removing the Facebook event they are not deterring people from going, they are simply blocking the needed lines of communication that we have with the public to provide direction and safety. From water preparation to environmental knowledge this type of censorship is dangerous to the public and basic safety is our No. 1 concern right now."

Facebook claimed they deleted the event page because it was "against community standards," according to the pair. Corbell shared why that excuse seemed unfitting.

"If humor is against Facebook 'community standards' I'm not sure what we have become as a digital nation," he explained. "More importantly, I see this as an attempt to censor over 3.7 million people. It's an attempt to digitally water-canon the populous into dispersement [sic] and silence, a control method used in the riots of 1969 fifty years ago."

Some of the language in this article has been updated.

Facebook Says Viral Area 51 Event Page Was Removed 'By Mistake' Ahead of Music and Arts Festival | Culture