Facebook is partnering with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to push AMBER Alerts to news feeds, the company announced Tuesday.
AMBER (America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) alerts are sent out over various means, including media, the Emergency Alert System and NOAA Weather Radio, and LED road signs in areas where a confirmed child kidnapping has taken place.
With 185 million U.S. users, Facebook has the potential to do a lot of good. The new feature will appear for users based on geographical proximity from where the child went missing. Alerts will include photographs and information about the case.
Since 2011, users have been able opt in to receive AMBER Alert notifications on Facebook. The difference is now, the feature will be implemented automatically for all users.
Facebook has indirectly been the means of communication for at least one abduction recovery, noted Emily Vacher, Trust and Safety Manager for Facebook Security. In 2014, an 11-year-old girl was reunited with her family after a motel clerk recognized her from an AMBER Alert one of her contacts had posted to Facebook.
Vacher said that since the feature will geographically target users, if you see an AMBER Alert that means you are actually in a position to help. Google and Bing also feature AMBER Alerts .
“We know the chances of finding a missing child increase when more people are on the lookout, especially in the critical first hours,” she wrote. “Our goal is to help get these alerts out quickly to the people who are in the best position to help.”
Photo via Facebook