Facebook users are now able to receive social AMBER Alerts based in their state or region. The AMBER Alert program is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement, media, transportation companies and other entities that shares information relevant to child abduction cases. The announcement coincides with the 15th anniversary of the abduction and murder of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, for whom the alerts are known. There is now a AMBER Alert Facebook page for each state, along with Puerto Rico and some Canadian provinces.
The news taps into the larger trend of emergency social data moving quickly through social networks. Updates, spread between friends and colleagues using a new AMBER Alert Facebook App, will help to spread awareness beyond electronic billboards, televisions and radio stations.
It’s a 21st Century alert for a real-time Web.
Facebook, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Department of Justice, and the Virginia State Police announced the partnership in Alexandria, Virginia today. The press conference is online at FacebookDCLive.
As Sara Estes Cohen pointed out as the news broke, MySpace rolled out AMBER Alerts years ago, back in 2007. Given the considerable concern in Congress or amongst privacy about children on these social networks, spreading social AMBER Alerts through them offers insight into the many ways such technology platforms can be applied.