You’ll soon see missing child alerts in your feed. Instagram. Meta’s popular photo and video sharing app is rolling out a new sharing functionality. Amber Alerts Starting this June 1.
An Amber Alert is a child abduction emergency alert message broadcast to request the public’s assistance in locating a missing or abducted child. Instagram will now help distribute these alerts by allowing them to appear in users’ Instagram feeds.
Instagram’s new Amber Alerts functionality means you’ll be able to see these alerts in your feed, share the alerts with others and, according to a screenshot of the feature, contact police to report a sighting of the missing child mentioned in the alert. The Amber Alerts themselves will also include a photo of the missing child, a description, and other information related to the abduction, such as the location.
According to Instagram’s announcement, receiving one of these alerts indicates that the search for the child is active near you because the alerts are only sent to users within the search area. So it’s based on your location, which for Instagram includes using “a variety of signals, including the city you list in your profile, your IP address, and location services (if you have it turned on).”
Amber Alerts will begin rolling out to users today and are expected to be “fully available” to users in 25 countries in the coming weeks. These countries include: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Ecuador, Greece, Guatemala, Ireland, Jamaica, Korea, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, South Africa, Taiwan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and United States.
This is not the first time that a Meta-owned social media app has distributed Amber alerts: the alerts have been distributed on Facebook since 2015.
The new Amber Alerts feature on Instagram was developed in partnership with several organizations, including the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). The center’s president and CEO, Michelle DeLaune, issued her own statement regarding the newly launched feature:
“Instagram is a platform based on the power of photos, so it is perfect for the Amber Alert program. We know that photos are a critical tool in the search for missing children, and by expanding the reach of Instagram’s audience, we will be able to share photos of missing children with many more people.”