Instagram launches AMBER Alerts to help find missing children
Meta has launched AMBER Alerts on Instagram, allowing people to see and share notices of missing children in their area. This feature has started rolling out from June 1, and be fully available in 25 countries in the coming weeks. Since 2015, AMBER Alerts on Facebook have been successful in helping authorities find and quickly locate missing children.
“Today, we’re bringing AMBER Alerts to Instagram for the first time. 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,” said Emily Vacher, Director of Trust and Safety, Meta.
“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,” Vacher said.
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 alerts are rare and specific to the search area. If you get one, it means there is an active search for a missing child nearby. In order to know who to show these alerts to, we use a variety of signals, including the city you list 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. 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.” – Michelle DeLaune, President and CEO at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
AMBER Alerts will be fully available in the next couple of weeks 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.
Meta is working to expand and bring them to more countries.
In 2015, it launched AMBER Alerts on Facebook. Since then, the alerts have assisted in hundreds of successful child endangerment cases in the US and around the world.
For example, in 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.