Facebook joins with AMBER Alert to help find missing children

facebook amber alert

By becoming a fan, Facebook users can receive AMBER Alerts on their news feed when word is sent out about a missing child. Image: CC benstein/Flickr

AMBER alerts will now be sent out on Facebook, the social networking site announced Wednesday. AMBER Alerts are emergency broadcasts notifying the public about missing children. A recent AMBER Alert posted on Facebook led to the safe recovery of an abducted child.

Become a fan of AMBER Alert

Facebook’s new AMBER Alert program is a project initiated by Facebook, The Justice Department and and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. AMBER stands for  America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. AMBER Alert pages have been created for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. To receive AMBER Alerts for their geographic area, Facebook users simply become a fan of the Facebook AMBER Alert page. When an AMBER Alert is issued, it will appear in the Facebook user’s news feed.

The story of Amber Hagerman

Facebook’s AMBER Alert program was announced on the 15th anniversary of the alert system. It was established after the murder of Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old girl from Arlington, Texas, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle. The AMBER Alert System began in 1996 when broadcasters in Dallas-Fort Worth partnered with local police to create an early warning system. Other cities and states soon joined in. Today there are 120 AMBER Alert programs nationwide. AMBER alerts have helped lead to the safe return of 525 missing children.

A Facebook/AMBER Alert success story

The combination of an AMBER Alert and Facebook helped authorities find a missing child about six weeks ago. Brittany Smith, 12, went missing after her mother was found murdered in Roanoke, Va. When an AMBER Alert was issued for the area, officers posted the alert on the Virgina State Police Facebook page. The page had 200 fans in the first day and a link spread quickly across the country. Five days later a women recognized the girl outside a supermarket in San Francisco with her mother’s boyfriend and called police. The man was arrested and the girl was returned safely to her father in Virgina.

Sources

MSNBC

PC World

CNET

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