What you need to know
- AMBER Alerts are rolling out on the Instagram app.
- The feature will include details on missing children, including a photo, description, last known location, and more.
- Facebook introduced AMBER Alerts in 2015 and has apparently helped recover hundreds of children.
AMBER Alerts are an essential feature that sends alerts of abducted children in a given area. On your phone, it’s usually met with a very loud sound and a pop-up notification with a few details. Meta brought AMBER Alerts to the Facebook app several years ago to help bolster efforts to find missing kids, and now the feature is finally arriving on Instagram.
On Wednesday, Emily Vacher, Meta’s director of Trust and Safety, announced that AMBER Alerts are rolling out to the Instagram app starting now. This feature will display notices on your feed of missing children within your area and include information such as photos, descriptions, last known location, and much more. The alert will consist of a button allowing users to report sightings to law enforcement, and it will also be shareable so users can spread the word.
Meta worked with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and various organizations worldwide to bring the feature to Instagram. That said, AMBER Alerts have been available on Facebook since 2015, and the company says that it has helped find hundreds of missing children. It highlights a 2020 incident when a couple in Springfield, Massachusetts couple saw a Facebook alert and helped rescue an 11-year-old girl. The company is undoubtedly hoping to bolster this type of success by expanding the feature to Instagram.
“Instagram is a platform based on the power of photos, making it a perfect fit for the AMBER Alert program,” says Michelle DeLaune, president and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. “We know that photos are a critical tool in the search for missing children and by expanding the reach to the Instagram audience, we’ll be able to share photos of missing children with so many more people.”
The feature will use a user’s IP address, the city listed on their profile, and device location services (if enabled) to distribute the alerts accordingly.
AMBER Alerts will be available on Android phones and iOS devices, rolling out to 25 countries over the next couple of weeks. Meta says it hopes to eventually expand to more countries over time.