Meta announced on Wednesday it has launched AMBER Alerts on Instagram today for the first time, partnering with the likes of 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.
In the coming weeks, Instagram will expand these AMBER Alerts to help find missing children in 25 total countries, including Canada.
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 will fully support the feature in the coming weeks.
Instagram says if an AMBER Alert is activated by law enforcement and you are within the search area, an alert will show up in your Instagram feed. With the amount of time people spend within Instagram, this is definitely one way to help spread the word.
Alerts will show details about the child, which could include a photo, description, location of the abduction and other relevant information, that can be easily shared with friends.
Meta says these alerts are “rare and specific to the search area.” Anyone receiving an alert means there’s an active search in their area for a missing child. How will Instagram know to target your device? It’s based on various signals, including the city listed in profiles, IP addresses and location services, if enabled.
AMBER Alerts debuted on Facebook in 2015 and since then, Meta says they have “been successful in helping authorities find and quickly locate missing children.”