We spend a lot of time joking on this website. However, this is no joking matter. The Amber Alert is a system that was designed to help save the life of a child that has gone missing. It has been tremendously successful and with the popularity of Facebook the integration was a no brainer.
In many communities throughout the country, when a child goes missing you may hear about it on the radio or see a notice on an illuminated highway sign. You might also get a text message if you’re signed up to receive one. AOL, Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft also disseminate Amber alerts. Now you can receive them on Facebook.
The Amber alert program, which was established 15 years ago after the abduction and murder of its namesake, 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, has so far resulted in the recovery of 525 kids according to Ernie Allen, CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
The program will be opt-in and you will only get alerts about children missing in your state or other states you designate. Also, according to Allen, Amber alerts are only used for the most serious cases, where local law enforcement believes the child is in immediate danger and where there is good descriptive information that people can look for, such as an automobile and license plate. Fortunately, these alerts are rare.
To sign-up for Amber alerts on Facebook go to Facebook.com/AMBERAlert, pick your state, and click the Like button at the top. You can also add that page to your favorites and suggest it to your friends. At any time, you can visit your state’s page by adding your state’s initials to the URL such as Facebook.com/AmberAlertNY.
Amber alerts for your state will show up in your news feed along with all the other items, but if you have a lot of Facebook friends you might miss them if you’re not looking.
“It doesn’t get priority over other feeds,” said Facebook’s Washington, D.C., policy staffer Adam Conner but, he added, “the hope is it will be so important that people will share it immediately and it will see a full viral effect.”