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Instagram introduces Amber Alerts for missing children

·2-min read
A man looking at the home page of social media site Instagram on a smartphone (PA) (PA Archive)
A man looking at the home page of social media site Instagram on a smartphone (PA) (PA Archive)

Amber Alerts about missing or abducted children are to be launched on Instagram in the UK and other countries around the world.

The feature has been developed in partnership with organisations including the National Crime Agency.

Instagram said the alerts would include details about the missing child such as a photo, description, location of abduction and other available information.

It said this could be a vital tool in searches because of the visual nature of the platform and as its engaged audience could quickly share alerts more widely.

We know that the chances of finding a missing child increase when more people are on the lookout, especially in the first few hours

Emily Vacher, director of trust and safety at Meta

The Meta-owned platform said the feature would begin rolling out on Thursday and would be fully available in 25 countries within the next few weeks.

A similar system was launched on Facebook in 2015 and with the feature now also coming to Instagram, users will be able to share alerts across platforms.

“We know that the chances of finding a missing child increase when more people are on the lookout, especially in the first few hours,” said Emily Vacher, director of trust and safety at Meta.

“With this update, if an Amber Alert is activated by law enforcement and you are in the designated search area, the alert will now appear in your Instagram feed.

“Amber Alerts are an important way we can support our communities in keeping children safe, and we look forward to continuing this work.”

Louise Newell, from the National Crime Agency’s UK missing persons unit, said: “Amber Alerts are a crucial tool in helping to get a message out quickly about a missing child and often result in vital information from the public that helps law enforcement to locate them.

“Having a really visual social platform like Instagram on board with issuing such alerts is great news, bringing missing children cases to a larger, more diverse audience and therefore increasing opportunities to find a missing child.

“If you have any information relating to a missing child alert, however small, you should immediately contact the police using details in the alert message.”

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