The United States military has issued an apology about a tweet that suggested it would bomb civilians who attempt to raid the popular Area 51 military zone in Nevada.
On Friday, the US Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) issued what appeared to be a threat to bomb anyone who takes part in the much-publicized event.
For weeks, the organizers of the “see them aliens” raid had been encouraging fans of Unknown Flying Objects (UFOs) and extraterrestrial life enthusiasts to gather at the secretive US base and infiltrate it in order to expose secrets that the Pentagon has long kept hidden from the public.
While more than two million people from around the world signed up to the campaign, only a few thousand traveled to rural Nevada to perform the “pilgrimage” on Friday.
The US military had already issued several warnings against approaching the heavily-protected site over the past weeks but the DVIDS thought the best way to tell off any possible trespassers was to send a tweet that featured the specter of a stealth bomber flying over
"The last thing #Millennials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today," read the now deleted tweet, which featured a photo of military men and women standing in uniform in front of a B-2 stealth bomber.
The DVIDS said on in another tweet on Saturday that the tweet is the opinion of an employee and "in NO WAY supports the stance of the Department of Defense. It was inappropriate and we apologize for this mistake."
Fears about any serious attempt to raid the Area 51 were proven unfounded after around 150 people, some of who in their alien outfits, gathered at the site in what appeared to be a festive atmosphere.
According to Reuters, only a handful of people were arrested at the gathering for being unruly.
This is not the first time that the US military is trying to contain the damage after tasteless online posts that have been criticized as threatening or insensitive.
The latest of such blunders came on December 31, just as people in New York City were preparing for New Year’s Eve celebrations in the iconic Times Square, where exactly a minute before the midnight, a time ball atop the One Times Square tower descends in a 60-second drop to mark the transition into the next year.
Shortly before the countdown began, the US Strategic Command, which oversees the country's nuclear arsenal, sent a tweet that said it was ready if necessary to drop something "much, much bigger" than the New Year's Eve ball in New York.
“TimesSquare tradition rings in the #NewYear by dropping the big ball ... if ever needed, we are #ready to drop something much, much bigger. Watch to the end!,” read the tweet, which also featured a video of a nuclear-capable B-2 bomber dropping large payloads.
Faced with heavy backlash on social media, the force published an apology, saying the post was “in poor taste and does not reflect our values.”
Earlier last year, the US Air Force sought to find humor in killing Taliban militants in Afghanistan by invoking a viral Internet debate about whether an audio file says the words "Laurel" or "Yanny."
“The Taliban Forces in Farah city #Afghanistan would much rather have heard #Yanny or #Laurel than the deafening #BRRRT they got courtesy of our #A10,” the official US Air Force Twitter account posted, referring to the A-10 close support aircraft which has proven effective in the Afghanistan war.
The USAF again deleted the tweet and replaced it with an apology.