Facebook teams up with DoJ, NCMEC to issue social AMBER Alerts


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.

About Alex Howard

Alexander B. Howard is a DC-based a technology writer and editor. Previously, he was the Washington Correspondent at O'Reilly Media, where he covered the voices, technologies and issues that matter in the intersection of government, technology and society. If you're feeling social, you can follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook or circle him on Google Plus In addition to corresponding for the O’Reilly Radar, he has contributed to the Huffington Post, Govfresh, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, National Journal, The Atlantic, CBS News and Forbes. He graduated from Colby College with a bachelor's degree in biology and sociology. Currently, he is a resident of the District of Columbia, where he lives with his greyhound, wife, power tools, plants and growing collection of cast iron pans, many of which are frequently used to pursue his passion for good cooking.

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