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Instagram to launch ‘Amber Alerts’ in its app

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Instagram will add Ambert alerts into its app in an attempt to find missing children.

It is the first time that the app has shown the alerts, which will appear from authorities across the world when a child is missing.

Instagram parent company Meta has already added the feature into Facebook, in 2015, and says that it has been successful in finding missing children.

And it says that the tool could be even more helpful on Instagram, given that people are already scrolling between images and they will bring the alerts to more people.

The alerts will show within the feed, as normal, and show information such as photo of the missing child, a description of them, the location of the abduction and any other important information. The alerts themselves can be shared with friends.

 (Instagram/Meta)
(Instagram/Meta)

It is likely that users will rarely see the images. They will not show up often and are specific to the location where the phone is, Instagram said, which the company will work out using signals including the city in people’s profiles, their IP address and the location services from the phone.

That means they will only appear when relevant. “If you get one, it means there is an active search for a missing child nearby,” the company said in its announcement.

The tool will start rolling out today. Within the next couple of weeks, it should be available in 25 countries, including the UK and US, and Meta has committed to bringing it to more countries beyond that.

In its announcement, Meta pointed to a number of cases where it said the alerts on Facebook had helped find missing children. In 2016, for instance, Kaytlin Brown helped rescue a four-year-old girl after spotting her picture on her news feed during a lunch break.

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