Facebook is assisting police departments across Canada locate missing children by implementing the Amber Alert system into users’ News Feeds.
Beginning Monday, any Amber Alert issued in Canada will appear on a Facebook user’s News Feed in targeted search areas.
“These alerts, which include photographs and other details about the missing child, are shown on mobile and desktop,” Facebook said in a January announcement introducing the feature in the U.S.
“For years, people have used Facebook to post news articles about missing children and AMBER Alerts. In several cases, someone saw a post or photo in their News Feed, took action, and a child was safely returned.”
The posts will only appear for users geo-located in the targeted search area for the missing child, meaning users likely will not see these Amber Alert notifications often, and when they do, they will not trigger any alerts to a person’s phone or device. The affected areas will be determined by local law enforcement officials, not Facebook.
“On behalf of the Harper Government, I applaud the launch of Facebook AMBER Alerts, a new tool that will mobilize the online community to help locate abducted Canadian children,” said the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Steven Blaney. “This initiative complements our Government’s strong commitment to keep our streets and communities safe, particularly when it comes to the most vulnerable members of society – our children.”
The social networking company made the announcement Monday morning in Ottawa to coincide with International Missing Children’s Day.