US ballistic missile
© Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
US ballistic missile defense system test launch
A text warning of an imminent incoming ballistic missile, which urged residents to "seek immediate shelter" was "accidentally" issued by Hawaii Civil Defense, briefly stirring panic and confusion on social media.

The emergency alert, which popped up on mobile phones across Hawaii shortly after 8am local time, read: "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL."

In a statement posted on Twitter, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said the alert was a false alarm.

"This is a false alarm. There's no incoming missile to Hawaii. I have confirmed with officials there is no incoming missile,"she said.

It was some 30 minutes after the alert that the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency confirmed the missile threat was non-existent.

The US military's Pacific command has also reassured citizens it was a false alarm, confirming it had "detected no ballistic missile threat to Hawaii" and that the message had been "sent in error."