Facebook users in Canada will receive Amber Alert notices in their news feeds when they are near where police believe children have been abducted, the company announced Monday.
- Facebook will send Amber Alerts for missing children to U.S. users
- Recovery of baby Victoria shows social media reach of Amber Alerts
Facebook Canada said Monday that it has launched an Amber Alert delivery system in partnership with police authorities across the country. It will send photos and relevant information directly onto users' mobile feeds in the first critical hours after the alert is issued.
Facebook said the alerts would target only users in the designated areas of the police search.
Many provincial Amber Alert systems in Canada already have Facebook pages that send alerts to users who "like" or subscribe to their page.
Facebook credited with aiding baby Victoria
Facebook announced a similar plan in the United States on January 13, and say there has been at least one confirmed recovery of an abducted child as a result of the system.
Facebook Canada managing director Jordan Banks said the new system would help turn the social network community in Canada into one big "neighbourhood watch."
Banks made the announcement alongside Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and Celine Ethier, the mother of Melanie Ethier, who disappeared in 1996 and has never been found.
Banks said he hoped the new system would lead to more incidents like the successful return of baby Victoria in May, who was returned to her family thanks in large part to three women and a man who went looking for the child after seeing a Facebook alert about her abduction.
The Amber Alert warning system was started after the 1996 kidnapping and murder of nine-year-old Amber Hagerman in Arlington, Tex.
Since then, more than 700 children have been found as a direct result of the alerts. The alerts are issued over TV and radio, on highway signs, as text messages and over the internet.