Facebook’s feature aims to help find missing children, and this is incredibly important

Perhaps nothing is as universally horrifying as a child being abducted. For this reason, Amber Alerts exist, and on International Missing Children’s Day, Mashable reported that Facebook released a video explaining its Amber Alert system. Perhaps you’ve had an Amber Alert appear on your News Feed before, but even if you haven’t — this video serves as a reminder about how important this functionality on Facebook is.

Facebook launched its Amber Alerts in January 2015. The company partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to post local Amber Alerts on people’s News Feeds after the National Center issues an alert.

This partnership was another way to communicate about missing children.

As Emily Vacher, a Director of Trust & Safety on Facebook’s Security team, states in the video:

"A couple of years ago, something extraordinary was happening on Facebook and it caught our attention. People were using our platform to encourage their friends and families to help find missing children. They would share information and pictures with messages of hope, and the Facebook community responded to the call for help."

Using what the Facebook community organically already started doing, the social media company joined forces with the Center for Missing and Exploited Children — since the more people who know about a child abduction, the better.

Facebook Help page on Amber Alerts explains that:

"These alerts include a photograph of the child, any available information about the incident and an indication that there's an active search going on. You can share the alert with your Facebook friends to help spread the word."

Facebook isn’t the only tech company to have integrated Amber Alerts, and 868 children have been rescued because of these alerts since they were created in 1996. The name stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response and pays tribute to 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped and murdered.

So next time an Amber Alert appears at the top of your News Feed, pay attention to it and help spread the word. You just may end up saving a child’s life.

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