Facebook has acted as a lifesaving tool too many times to count. It's saved a newborn baby from being taken from the hospital, and it came to the rescue of this abused boy for starters. Thanks to quick thinking and some help from complete strangers and Amber Alerts, it goes to show the real and raw power of social media.
Take into account that Facebook has more than a billion users worldwide, which is more than the population of some countries, and you can begin to think of all the children it could potentially save in the future.
That's why Facebook is teaming up with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and missing children advocate John Walsh to notify you via News feed of any Amber Alerts in your area.
"If you're not listening to the radio, watching TV or driving on the highway [to receive an Amber Alert]," says John Walsh ... "Facebook will put pictures, description of the vehicle involved. It is a serious game-changer."
So from here on out, Facebook will post Amber Alerts to your News Feed based on your location. You will only see alerts about children that have been abducted in your area after the National Center has issued an official alert. Also, you will not receive a separate notification on your tablet or smartphone. These alerts will be in your News Feed and your News Feed alone.
These posts will have everything Walsh described above, as well as descriptions of the abducted, the suspected abductor, license plate numbers and any other important details.
From the official Facebook announcement:
With more than 725 children recovered as a direct result of AMBER Alerts since the program launched in 1996, we know the system works. We hope our new delivery mechanism will help increase that number and reunite even more families.
"I'm positive it will find children alive," [Walsh] says. "This is social media at its best."