AMBER Alerts joins Facebook

Facebook users are now able to get AMBER Alerts on their computers and smartphones thanks to a partnership between the giant social network and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

AMBER (America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response) Alerts have traditionally gone out via television and radio, and have been posted on highway signs. Since 2002, they have also been sent to AOL users who requested them on an opt-in basis. Given its rapidly expanding role in the lives of millions of Americans, their inclusion in Facebook is a logical next step.

Here’s how it works:

· Sign in to your Facebook account

· Search for 

· To receive all AMBER Alerts, click on the Like button at the top of the page

· If you only wish to receive AMBER Alerts for certain states, click on each individual state and then click on the Like button at the top of each page

All 50 states are represented, along with certain Canadian territories, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Alerts will appear in your News Feed as regular status updates and can be accessed on your computer or on a smartphone if you have downloaded the mobile Facebook app.

The press conference announcing the AMBER Alerts Facebook presence was attended by Colleen Nick of the Morgan Nick Foundation. Colleen’s daughter, Morgan, went missing in 1995 at a little league game in Alma, Arkansas. More than a decade later, she is still missing. “When you can immediately notify the public and have thousands of eyes and ears looking for that child, we can see a child recovered very, very quickly,” said Nick.

The partnership could lead other organizations to turn to Facebook to distribute emergency information. Warnings on natural disasters, product recalls, violent crime, and national security issues are all potential candidates. As the Facebook tracking web site Inside Facebook notes: “It’s another sign that web services like Facebook and Twitter are becoming the fastest ways to disseminate information to the largest number of people.”

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