I have been bouncing around a theory for a while about the whole UFO discussion of the last... five years? It's interesting how it has ebbed and flowed in US, even getting a fair amount of discussion (and true believers announcing themselves) on the predecessor forums to this forum. I think the most important and interesting thing is not the phenomenon - how many times are people going to get excited about hazy videos that may or may not show small specks moving in unnatural ways, but the discussion itself - and I think there's a specific reason why the system might foster this discussion.
We certainly know that the US government takes a great interest in social media and has done so since the beginning, as demonstrated by articles like this one. The effective voluntary surveillance abilities offered by Facebook and other security-state-connected social media means that there can now be what amounts to a voluntary distributed vast civilian surveillance operation by the security state.
If media successfully rekindles interest in UFOs, there's going to be photos all over social media, and they might be of some use, as there's timestamps and location data, and you can use rapidly advancing machine learning abilities to, for instance, give credence to pilot sightings by checking if there's relevant civilian sightings, or photographs.
By stoking interest in UFOs, having people photograph or otherwise talk about whatever strange lights in the sky they have seen, they will receive data that they can now categorize and utilize – true open-source intelligence. They can then figure out whether there is a cause for further interest and concern.
Such civilians might not do this just voluntarily. Indeed, many of them are exactly of the suspicious type that would actively refrain from watching the skies if the government directly told them to do so. And it is not just Americans. A successful operation would provoke sightings all around the world, even in enemy countries (as far as those allow the penetration of American social media). And as automatic data analysis capabilities improve, so would the capabilities to use that data.
More in the link.