June 8, 2022
Amber Alerts have arrived on Instagram nationwide. Here's what to expect and how they work
Instagram users across the United States will notice a new feature with the popular app.
Amber Alerts, which alert the public about a kidnapped child and are primarily sent as notifications on mobile phones accompanied by an alarm, will now also appear on people's Instagram feed. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, will use the city listed on your profile, your IP address, and location services to determine if you're near an active Amber Alert.
Whenever a child goes missing in your state, an Amber Alert will pop up on your Instagram feed with a photo and description of the missing child, and any other available information such as the abduction location and color, make, model and license plate of the abductor's car. The alert will also provide a phone number to your local law enforcement agency that you can contact with any relevant information.
This alert is complementary to the other type of alert you receive on your phone, and is not a replacement for those.
"Instagram is a platform based on the power of photos, making it a perfect fit for the Amber Alert program," Michelle DeLaune, president and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, stated in a press release. "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 AMBER Alert system was created in 1996 in Dallas-Fort Worth when local broadcasters teamed up with the local police department to develop a warning system for missing children after the kidnapping of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman. Since then, the system has helped recover more than 1,100 children.
Instagram had 114.6 million users as of 2020, and that number is expected to hit 127.2 million by 2023. Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, Inc. and which now owns Instagram, released Amber Alerts on Facebook worldwide in 2015.
Meta claims that its Amber Alert system on Facebook has assisted in several rescues, such as the rescues of an 11-year-old child in Massachusetts in 2020 and a 4-year-old girl in Memphis, Tennessee.
Instagram plans to have Amber Alerts available in 25 countries worldwide in the coming weeks, including Canada and Mexico, and plans to further expand in the future.
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