Aliens or suspicious surveillance? The internet reacts to the Chinese spy balloons incident

By Mason Berlinka

Published Feb 14, 2023 at 03:54 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

Do you believe in alien life? Well if you do, it’s likely that your heart was played with last week, as the world was faced with dramatic news of unidentified flying objects being shot down over the US. What this led to was classic internet ‘memeing’ and speculation, backed up by the US military’s claims that they had “not ruled out” the possibility of alien interference. Despite this latest turn of event, we do know that the first balloon was in fact a Chinese spying device.

The device in question—which was shot down on Saturday 4 February 2023—was a massive floating balloon that was said to be gently making its way through the air over US military bases containing sensitive information. Merely a weather monitoring airship that had blown astray, claimed the Chinese government.

It seemed like that was going to be it for the tension-raising tale, but what followed was the discovery of even more unidentified objects, the language surrounding them now ambiguous and mysterious. The excitement flared again when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ordered a US warplane to shoot down one of the flying objects which had ended up wandering over northern Canada on Saturday. Suddenly, this all seemed way more serious. Was the US being defended from foreign threats or extraterrestrial ones?

Naturally, netizens did what they know best and began to speculate endlessly about the possibility of alien life and even conflict among nations. Opening the memes with the best news: actress, performer and all-around icon Liza Minnelli has outlived the spy balloon.

The internet has kept up momentum, tying in the spy balloon drama with the strange backup dancers spotted during Rihanna’s performance at last weekend’s Super Bowl.

Redditors were also relishing in the alien discourse, with one user making a comparison between a headline urging Americans to not take “pot shots” at the UFOs, with a line from Independence Day.

Comment
byu/PresidentSpanky from discussion
innottheonion

The same headlines urging people not to shoot at the “aliens” prompted this hilarious comparison between that time a group of American southerners tried to kill a drone. Classic Americans.

Finally Twitter’s current despot, Elon Musk couldn’t help himself and weighed in on the speculation, confirming what we always knew about him—that he’s probably an alien.

My personal favourite meme from the onslaught of posts dominating my feed was this one which compared the current alien panic with that of the pandemic we all just suffered through. Are we going to get a UFO lockdown and UFO paid leave? Unlikely.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by @harrisonlambert_memes

Despite the memes and good spirits online, many users were quick to point out the possibility of this so-called sighting simply being a news cycle distraction. All carefully orchestrated to keep the media focus away from information surrounding the utter ecological disaster that Ohio is currently facing following a chemical train derailment. Light hearted memeing or government psy-op? You decide.

Keep On Reading

By Abby Amoakuh

The internet is obsessing over Bridgerton characters Benedict and Francesca’s sexualities 

By Abby Amoakuh

Carnivorous turtle able to chew through human bone found in Cumbria by local parish

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Fans left angered over 50 Cent’s reaction to Power actor Michael Rainey Jr. being groped on a livestream

By Jack Ramage

We spoke to the viral Oompa Loompa girl about the Glasgow Willy Wonka experience

By Charlie Sawyer

Kim Kardashian faces backlash for shocking two word response to Palestine protester

By Abby Amoakuh

Book reveals embarrassing STD tests on Trump’s Apprentice as interviews with Logan Paul airs

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Raven-Symoné tells fans to stop sending death threats to her wife Miranda amid online hate

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Swipe, date, invest: Inside the rise of the $2,000 three-date rule in 2023

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Where is P Diddy? His private jet’s tracking suggests he’s fled the US

By Charlie Sawyer

Who is Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s husband and why is the former convict now a social media icon?

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Teenage boy arrested after creating graphic deepfake AI images of over 50 female students 

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Andrew Tate says MrBeast’s support of trans friend Kris Tyson is fake and a psyop

By Charlie Sawyer

Donald Trump warns of chaos and bedlam if his name is kept off the US presidential election ballot

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Macklemore slams Kendrick Lamar and Drake’s beef in new Pro-Palestine song

By Abby Amoakuh

Muslim Germans feel censored and alienated as the country continues to ignore its Islamophobia problem

By Abby Amoakuh

Ashton Kutcher in hot water again for advocating AI use to cut Hollywood costs

By Abby Amoakuh

Everything we know so far about The Summer I Turned Pretty season 3

By Charlie Sawyer

2023 was Jeremy Allen White’s year. Why? Because being committed to the job is sexy

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Shocking last words of young vape addict before he went into coma

By Emma O'Regan-Reidy

Why are Gen Zers putting bows on everything? Explaining the coquette ribbon obsession