You may appreciate the newest feature being rolled out by Facebook: Amber Alerts. The social media giant announced Tuesday that it would join the efforts to help find missing children by sharing these alerts. It’s a timely way to spread the word, and to reach people in the targeted area. It’s not the network’s first positive social effort (see this and this), but it may be the most effective and well-received yet.
Facebook announced the new feature, citing cases in which news articles or photos of a missing child, shared on Facebook, had been key in finding the child. For instance, a South Carolina woman checked a man and his daughter into her hotel, and later noticed a social media post in which she recognized the child — the very child who had entered her hotel the evening before. She contacted authorities, and the man was taken into custody and the child returned home.
However, these shared images often go on long after the child is recovered — internet hoax debunker Snopes has a number of pages missing children, whose faces are still circulating on social media, though the kids in question were found years ago. For example, this boy and this girl were both located in the Spring of 2013, each within days of disappearing, but their photos still resurface on Facebook.
This can leave users unsure whether to pass on a missing child story on Facebook. Amber Alerts will take away the guesswork, because they’ll be clearly current and relevant, and will be targeted to users whose locations place them in the area where the child was lost, or where he or she (and, if applicable, his or her abductor) may be headed.
(Note: Amber Lewis, the child shown in the photo above, is currently missing at the time of this publication. She disappeared March 1, 2014, from Camden, MS. More information is here.)
When law enforcement officials determine the range and location for an Amber Alert, Facebook will pass the message on — it will show up in newsfeeds, as an item that can be shared. It will also include a link back to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children — which means that a click will tell users if the child has been found, or if there is any other new information that would help locate the child.
Not every update to the widely-used social network has been well-received, but Facebook’s Amber Alerts update has the potential to save lives and bring children home.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Facebook Adds Amber Alerts To Its Notifications
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