Facebook is good for a lot of things. Finding missing children may just be one of them! Last March, an 11 year old girl went missing in South Carolina. An Amber Alert poster with her picture on it began circulating Facebook and she was later found in a motel room. A motel employee saw the girl’s picture on Facebook and alerted authorities leading to her discovery.
Earlier this week, Facebook announced it would be partnering with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to extend Amber Alerts into people’s newsfeeds. The alerts will be targeted to those users who are located near the search area. They will NOT act as Facebook notifications, rather they’ll just show up in a user’s newsfeed as they’re scrolling. It’s also not something one would have to actively enroll in – every Facebook user will get the Amber Alerts.
Each Facebook Amber Alert will include as much information as possible, including photographs. It’ll give you the option to share the post with your friends and a “Learn More” button will connect users to the NCMEC missing child poster. The idea is if you’re seeing an Amber Alert, you’re actually in a viable position to help. The alert will NOT be delivered to you otherwise. That’s something to actively keep in mind; these alerts are not arbitrary. This is YOUR opportunity to get involved!
In the past, whenever there had been an active Amber Alert, it usually made its way to the trending topics section on Facebook. The social media world reportedly helped in finding some of those children, which is what sparked this i dea. It’s a fantastic example of a social media outlet using its “celebrity” to help other people. We don’t know why they didn’t think of it sooner!
The program went live on Tuesday. Make sure you keep your eyes wide open!