Facebook launches Amber Alerts to help find missing children

By News Staff, 

news@abc6.com

NEW YORK (AP) _ Facebook users in the U.S. will soon receive Amber Alerts to help find missing children who may be located near them.

“If you think about it in essence in this situation, is the world’s largest neighborhood watch,” said Emily Vacher, Facebook.

Facebook Inc. is working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to send the alerts to users’ mobile phones if they are in a search area where a child has been abducted. Facebook says people are already using its site to encourage their friends and family to help find missing children, and that several children have been reunited with their families as a result of information shared on the site.

“When people receive these alerts on their phones, we want them to know that this is very rare and they’re in a position to be able to help,” said Emily Vacher. Facebook.

Last March, a missing 11-year-old girl was found in a South Carolina motel room when a motel clerk called police after seeing an Amber Alert on Facebook, according to the company and reports at the time.

The Woonsocket Police Dept. is on board with the new tool.  Last January, they helped reunited 6-year-old Daniel Britt with his dad.  He was taken and the incident sparked an Amber Alert.

“The more people involved and not just looking at road signs the more people who have phones now a days getting the message out and maybe getting information back to us in a quicker fashion, it’s definitely gonna help law enforcement,” said Det. Sgt. Matt Ryan.

(C) WLNE-TV 2014/AP