If you have a smartphone, you’ve probably seen the standard Amber Alert. It can appear on your lock screen, and features enough room for a few lines of text. That translates to a location, license plate and vehicle description. While the system undoubtedly works, there’s room for improvement.
The Facebook Amber Alert will take it a few steps further, offering up as much information as possible. Pictures of child, vehicle picture, and/or a more detailed description of what happened.
So why jump in if we already have an Amber Alert service? In a kidnapping, it’s about getting out as much information as quickly as possible. The more people see it, the better the likelihood of a positive outcome.
Facebook won’t serve the messages on the lockscreen, but they will show in your mobile newsfeed. If you see the normal alert, you’ll glance around, and hopefully you see something. With Facebook’s idea, the hope is the added images will lead to more tips.
This system is being launched as a partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Facebook initially partnered with the center in 2012, but users had to opt-in to see the alerts. The new system is more expansive and will get information in front of as many people as Facebook can reach.
An example of an alert is below.
The image is of Myra Lewis, who has been missing since March 2014. If you have seen her, please dial 911 immediately. For more information about her, please visit here.
This is undoubtedly one of the more meaningful projects Facebook has embarked on. I sincerely hope the partnership extends to other social media services in the near-term.