News Column

Facebook to Provide Amber Alerts

January 13, 2011

Facebook has added a feature allowing its U.S. users to be notified on their pages when an Amber alert for a missing child is posted in their state.

The social networking site announced the program Wednesday, Cnet News reported. Facebook users must click the Like button on the Amber alert page for their state.

Ernie Allen, chief executive officer of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, said the history of Amber alerts has shown that ordinary citizens who pay attention to what is going on around them can help track abducted children, PC Magazine said.

"One of our hopes is that because Facebook is so viral and there is such an opportunity for people to mobilize and communicate with their friends that very quickly this information can reach a huge number of people and bring more kids home," Allen said.

Amber alerts are named after Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped Jan. 13, 1996 in Arlington, Texas. When her body was found, an autopsy determined she had been alive for two days after her abduction, suggesting her life might have been saved if the public had alerted to look for her or her kidnapper.

Source: Copyright United Press International 2011

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