The U.S. Army sent out a warning to Americans not to believe any text messages saying they have been drafted to serve in the military.
The warning comes amid escalating tensions between the United States and Iran after an American drone strike killed top commander Qassem Soleimani before Tehran launched missiles at U.S. troops at Iraqi bases early Jan. 8.
The U.S. Army Recruiting Command said in a statement that it “has received multiple calls and emails about these fake text messages and wants to ensure Americans understand these texts are false and were not initiated by this command or the U.S. Army.”
The notice stipulated that the Selective Service System, a federal agency, is the only organization that manages registration for the Selective Service, which maintains information on Americans who are subject to military conscription.
There is currently no draft in effect, and it was abolished in 1973 during the Vietnam War. Males who are aged 18 and older still have to register with the Selective Service for the possibility of conscription in the military, but doing so does not enlist a person into the military.
“The military has been an all-volunteer force since that time,” the notice said, adding that “Army recruiting operations are proceeding as normal.”
“The Selective Service System is conducting business as usual,” the Selective Service said on Twitter following false reports of there being a draft. “In the event that a national emergency necessitates a draft, Congress and the president would need to pass official legislation to authorize a draft.”
Misinformation about the draft being spread online caused its website to crash for some time, the Selective Service said on Jan. 3.
“Due to the spread of misinformation, our website is experiencing high traffic volumes at this time. If you are attempting to register or verify registration, please check back later today as we are working to resolve this issue. We appreciate your patience,” the agency wrote.
It didn’t elaborate on the nature of the draft misinformation being spread, but it’s likely being exacerbated by trends on Twitter about a potential war with Iran. After Soleimani’s death, the hashtag #WorldWarIII trended on Twitter for much of Jan. 3 and 4. Some users expressed fears that a military draft could be initiated.
President Donald Trump said on Jan. 3, following the general’s death, that Washington isn’t looking to go to war.
“We post daily to social media as part of our mission to inform men about their requirement to register and let others know about the opportunity to serve as a local board member, along with other pertinent information,” the Selective Service wrote.