BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The creator of a viral Facebook event that jokingly calls for participants to "storm Area 51" says he was contacted by the FBI.
Matty Roberts is the man who created the Facebook event "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us" in June. As of Thursday, 1.4 million people have said they're "attending" the event on Sept. 20, and another 2 million are "interested."
Roberts has said that he wants the event to be peaceful and that he hopes nobody gets hurt. But that didn't stop the FBI from contacting him about the event.
"So, the FBI showed up at 10 a.m. and contacted my mom, and she calls me like, 'answer your phone the FBI is here," Roberts said. "I was kind of scared at this point, but they were super cool and wanted to make sure that I wasn't an actual terrorist making pipe bombs in the living room."
The FBI isn't the only issue Roberts has faced this week. On Monday, the event and its 2 million followers suddenly disappeared from Facebook.
"...there was no reason why," Roberts said. "I put in a bunch of support tickets in."
"I was kind of scared, because I am trying to advocate people to go to safer options and then I lost the platform to do that," he said.
Roberts says he tried twice to create a new event, but those events were also deleted. The incident caused a frenzy among the attendees.
"I did get a notice for the original event that said it violated community standards of Facebook without further reason, and the other two were just blacklisted," Roberts said.
After a few hours, the event was restored.
"This was a mistake and the event page is now available again," Facebook said in a statement.
"As far as Facebook goes, I just want to thank them for putting the event back up," Roberts said. "So that way, we do have that organization to point people about the safer option."
Roberts actually plans on hosting an event — an Area 51 festival, where admission will be free of charge.
"Profits would be fun, but I don't want to be seen as a profit-driven guy," Roberts said. "I don't care about the money aspect; I never intended for this to become a real thing. Now, I want to make it fun, and I think just capitalizing on it and making a ton of money just ruins the idea of the grassroots idea of it."
Roberts says that the festival is to be a place of 'awesome people' just gathering in the desert. He hopes to make it an annual event for years to come and wants to remind people that they aren't actually storming the Area 51 base.
"It's insane, and I just created a joke while I was playing video games and it has taken off to this wild monster," Roberts said. "I want to make this something as a positive, enjoyable, safe, and profitable for the rural area of Nevada."