January 20 , 2015
MONTGOMERY — The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children last week announced a partnership with Facebook to send AMBER Alerts to the social network’s community to help find missing children.
“Because of the time sensitive and critical nature of the AMBER Alerts, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency values the partnership with the Alabama Broadcasters Association and media outlets throughout the state for the distribution of notifications and the re-broadcast of AMBER Alerts to the public,” said Secretary of Law Enforcement Spencer Collier. “With the new expansion of the AMBER Alert program to Facebook, the message of a missing child can reach more people faster.”
People have already been using Facebook to help find missing children. Last year, an 11-year-old girl was safely recovered after a South Carolina motel employee recognized a photo of the girl in an AMBER alert she saw on Facebook. The woman called the police, and the child was found unharmed.
“For most people, these alerts will be rare because they will only go to people who are in a position to help – those specifically within the designated search area,” said Emily Vacher, who leads this initiative for the Facebook Trust and Safety team. “If you get an alert on Facebook it means there is an active search for an abducted child going on in your area. The alert will provide the critical information you need to potentially help reunite a child with his or her family.”
Facebook’s distribution system will send AMBER Alerts to people’s news feeds to quickly disseminate detailed information about the child to the people who are in the best position to help – those in the designated search area.
AMBER Alerts are a child abduction alert system that started in the United States in 1996. AMBER stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response and was named for Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas.
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