This article originally appeared on 60 Second Social.

Facebook is launching a new initiative to help find missing children by pushing Amber Alerts into the news feed of users. The program has been developed in partnership with the National Centre for Missing & Exploited children and launched for U.S. users last Tuesday.

“When a child goes missing, the most important thing is getting out the relevant information, the correct information, to the right people at the right time,” Emily Vacher, Facebook head of global safety told USA Today.

Facebook has in fact had special pages for Amber Alerts – a notification when a child goes missing – since January 2011. The new system however is designed to target area specific instances and send alerts to people who are near or at the search area.

The alert will send a post about the missing child and will include photographs, the alert will appear on both mobile devices and desktops. Users will be able to obtain more information by clicking on the alert and they will be able to share the alert on their timelines.

“If you see an Amber Alert delivered, it means you are actually in a position to be able to help,” said Vacher.

Users will not have to sign up for the service to receive these alerts, and a Facebook spokesperson confirmed to Mashable, there won’t be a way to opt out of them, either. It doesn’t mean users will be swarmed with alerts, however. According to Vacher, a person will typically see one or two alerts per year.

With Facebook rolling out such a service to the U.S. it could be only a matter of time before we see such a feature being rolled out globally. Twitter has a similar style of notification which has been used by the Gardai for CRI alerts when a childs welfare is at risk or believed to have been abducted.

About The Author

Mark is the founder of 60 Second Social media where he provides social media news and digital marketing analysis, he is also a proud father of his bearded dragon, Lola. You can follow him on Twitter here. You can also follow 60 Second Social on Twitter here.

 

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