Facebook Improves on Its Amber Alerts

Facebook debuted a revamped Amber Alert format Monday to mark Amber Alert Awareness Day and the fifth anniversary of the day the initiative to help locate missing children rolled out on the social network.

Since the feature debuted in January 2015, over 700 Amber Alerts have been issued via Facebook, and they are now available in 22 countries.

Facebook said its redesign added an updated look and new information making Amber Alerts more visible and easier to share, and important details about the missing child are included, such as photos, descriptions and location of abductions.

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Prior to Facebook’s addition of the feature, in May 2014, the social network was a key part of the rescue of kidnapped baby Victoria in Canada.

The social network also shared two other instances of Amber Alerts on its platform helping to reunite parents and missing children.

In October 2016, an Amber Alert was issued for a four-year old girl abducted in Lakeland, Fla. Kaytlin Brown, an anesthesia technician at Baptist East hospital in Memphis, Tenn., was on her lunch break when she recognized the missing child after seeing an Amber Alert on Facebook. Her quick action helped rescue the missing girl.

On Jan. 3, 2018, a five-month-old child was abducted in Greene County, Mo. The Facebook Amber Alert had 46,000 shares and was viewed over 2 million times. A Facebook user, who received the Amber Alert through Facebook, spotted the vehicle of the abductor in Ozark, Mo., contacted 911 and, in just 43 minutes from the initial push of the Amber Alert, the child was found safe and returned home.

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