Facebook tells you who's getting married, lets you share your
vacation pictures with family, and can help you reconnect with
friends from the past.
And now federal authorities hope the world's largest social
network will be a powerful tool in the fight against child
abduction and exploitation.
Facebook has joined forces with the National Center for Missing
and Exploited Children to extend the center's AMBER Alert, the
rapid-response information bulletin program that has helped find
more than 520 children since 1996, to the social network.
Facebook has launched AMBER Alert pages for each state, Puerto
Rico, the U.S Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia that can
send alerts to users. In its first day, more than 4,700 people
signed up for Illinois alerts, Hoever says. Visit the Illinois page.
Bob Hoever, the National Center's associate director who
spearheaded the project, says the reaction has been "absolutely
"We've really been pleased by how quickly people are signing
up," he says. "The more people see these alerts, the more
information we hope will come in."
To sign up for
alerts, users can visit the page for your state and click the
"Like" button at the top. Alerts will appear in their news feeds,
and, Facebook and the national center hope, will spread quickly
among friends, eventually to someone with information. Facebook has
also said it will donate advertising space to promote these
Cinda Lubich, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Clearinghouse for
Missing Persons, which manages the state's AMBER program, says
getting the word out as quickly as possible was the original goal
of the AMBER system and bringing a new partner in can only
"The number of people with Facebook accounts is unbelievable,
and this is just another way to get the information out there about
an abducted child," she says.
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