Facebook Launches AMBER Alert System in Canada on International Day of Missing Children

A new distribution system that will send comprehensive and targeted alerts to the Facebook community

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A new distribution system that will send comprehensive and targeted alerts to the Facebook community

OTTAWA, May 25, 2015 / CNW / - Facebook Canada today announced a unique new AMBER alert distribution system, in collaboration with law enforcement authorities in various Canadian provinces, which will send alerts to the Facebook community during the first critical hours after a child has gone missing.

Using the reach and breadth of Facebook, AMBER Alerts will offer comprehensive information including a photo and all the details available about the missing child on the Facebook mobile News Feed. The alert will only appear in the news feed of people living in the identified search area who will then be in a position to help. Most importantly, the Facebook community will be able to share the alert easily and instantly to their friends and family.

“We know that when a child is missing, the most important thing we can do is make the information public as quickly as possible,” said Jordan Banks, Global Head of Vertical Strategy and Managing Director, Facebook Canada. “By sharing the right information with the right people at the right time on Facebook using targeted AMBER alerts, we hope to reunite missing children with their families even faster. "

How does it work?

When a law enforcement organization confirms that a case qualifies for an AMBER Alert, it is issued by that province's AMBER Alert Coordinator, sent directly to Facebook and then distributed with all available information, including a photo of the missing child, the name and description of the child, the suspected suspect and a license plate number.

Authorities determine the scope of the target area for each alert before Facebook shares it in the People's News Feed. The number of alerts people see will depend on the number of alerts in effect in their area; however, it should be noted that AMBER alerts are generally very rare. If people receive an alert, they will know they are in a position to help.

For several years, people have used Facebook to post articles to share information about missing children. In several cases, a person saw a post or photo in their News Feed, took action, and a child was safely returned to their family.

Bébé Victoria, Simon Boisclair, Mélissa McMahon, Jordan Banks, chef de la stratégie verticale et directeur général, Facebook Canada, Celine Ethier, l'honorable Steven Blaney, ministre de la Sécurité publique et de la Protection civile du Canada. (Groupe CNW/Facebook® Canada)
Baby Victoria, Simon Boisclair, Mélissa McMahon, Jordan Banks, Head of Vertical Strategy and Executive Director, Facebook Canada, Celine Ethier, the Honorable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada. (CNW Group / Facebook® Canada)

In 2014, little Victoria, a newborn, was brought back to her parents after being abducted from a hospital in Trois-Rivières, Quebec. Four young people saw the suspect's photo in their News Feed and reported it, resulting in an incredible ending. The AMBER Alert System is inspired by this type of word-of-mouth effort.

Facebook launched the AMBER Alert in the United States on January 13, 2015. Since that time, there has been at least one documented case of an abducted child that has been found thanks to an AMBER Alert on Facebook. Now, with the system also in place in Canada, our desire is to reunite even more missing children with their families.

AMBER alerts are very effective. According to the RCMP, between 2003 and 2012, 96% of children who were the subject of an AMBER alert were returned unharmed to their families. *


* SOURCE - CBC News:

SOURCE Facebook® Canada

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About the Author

Audrey Miller
Audrey Miller
General manager of École branchée, Audrey holds a graduate degree in educational technologies and a bachelor's degree in public communication. Member of the Order of Excellence in Education of Quebec, she is particularly interested in the professional development of teachers, information in the digital age and media education, while actively creating bridges between the actors of the educational ecosystem since 1999. She is involved these days in particular in Edteq Association and as a member of the ACELF Communications Committee. When she has free time, she is passionate about her children, his rabbits, horses, good wine and... Web programming!

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