Facebook has announced today that they’ve teamed up with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to deliver Amber Alerts to users both on web and mobile apps. The social media giant will show Amber Alerts to users in their newsfeed to try and inform the public of active Amber Alert situations. Users will be able to share the post but it will not alert users with a notification like a comment on a status or picture.
In a post by Facebook’s Trust and Safety manager, Emily Vacher, shared details of it’s latest initiative to keep it’s users safe. Under the new plan, when a local or state agency determines a case qualifies for an Amber Alert, the alert will be issued by the Center for Missing and Exploited children and be distributed through facebook’s system via the newsfeed. The post will show important information like the name of the suspect and at risk child, descriptions of the parties involved and if there are any vehicles involved. Also included will be license plate numbers and pictures.
“We know the chances of finding a missing child increases when more people are on the lookout, especially in the critical first hours. Our goal is to help get these alerts out quickly to the people who are in the best position to help” wrote Vacher. In 2014 an 11 year old girl was recovered after a motel owner recognized a girl and her abductor after she had seen an Amber Alert shared on Facebook. Police were able to come in and recover the child shortly after.
People have been sharing stories about missing kids for years but this will allow people to have the most up to date information since they will now be sharing the missing child’s poster which as all the pertinent information. The alerts will be delivered in only a targeted area defined by local law enforcement. The number of alerts people will see will depend on how many are issued in the area. Some may see a few a year, some may never see any at all.
More than 725 children have been recovered as a direct result of the Amber Alert system since it’s launch in 1996.