Meta today launches AMBER Alerts on Instagram that allow people to see and share notices of missing children in their area. The AMBER Alerts was originally launched on Meta‘s Facebook platform in 2015, since then the alerts have helped in hundreds of successful child endangerment cases in the United States and around the globe.
In the coming weeks, it will be fully available in 25 countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Ecuador, Greece, Guatemala, Ireland, Jamaica, Korea, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, South Africa, Taiwan, Ukraine, the UK, the United Arab Emirates and the US. We’re working to expand and bring them to more countries.
According to company notes, this feature was developed in partnership with organizations like the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the US, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children, the National Crime Agency in the UK, the Attorney General’s Office in Mexico, the Australian Federal Police and more.
“We know that the chances of finding a missing child increase when more people are on the lookout, especially in the first few hours. With this update, if an AMBER Alert is activated by law enforcement and you are in the designated search area, the alert will now appear in your Instagram feed,” the company wrote in the blog post.
The alert will include important details about the child such as a photo, description, location of the abduction and any other available information that can be provided. People can also share the alert with friends to further spread the word.
These are unusual alerts that are specific to the search area. If you get one, it means a missing child search is ongoing in your area. The company will use a variety of factors to decide who really should receive these alerts, including the city you mention on your profile, your IP address, and location services (if you have it turned on).
“Instagram is a platform based on the power of photos, making it a perfect fit for the AMBER Alert program,” said Michelle DeLaune, President and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. “We know that photos are a critical tool in the search for missing children and by expanding the reach to the Instagram audience, we’ll be able to share photos of missing children with so many more people.”
According to a company analysis from 2020, Amanda Disley and her husband helped rescue 11-year-old Charlotte Moccia of Springfield, Massachusetts after seeing an AMBER Alert on Facebook.
And in 2016, an AMBER Alert was issued after a four-year-old girl was abducted in Lakeland, Florida. Kaytlin Brown, an anesthesia technician at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee was on her lunch break when she saw the alert on Facebook, recognized the missing child and quickly took action.
AMBER Alerts are an important way we can support our communities in keeping children safe, and we look forward to continuing this work.