Amber Alerts are nothing new, though it seems like their popularity has only grow with the advent of social media. Facebook is the name most closely associated with these alerts, as many users have learned, this past January, that alerts would be sent to their feeds based on geographical locations. With that said, it’s been a rather limited resource. Until now, that is, as those living up north will be able to see these alerts and act upon them.
CTV News posted an article detailing the launch of the Amber Alerts system on Facebook, in the country of Canada. With said system in place, it’ll make matters that much easier for the authorities to locate missing children, as this can involve the numerous users of Facebook. The way that these notifications will work is that they will appear on various feeds, only hours after a child goes missing. Photos and other pieces of information will then be presented, which can be shared by Facebook users, spreading the message to other concerned individuals.
As mentioned earlier, these notifications will be sent based on locations. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that someone goes missing in the area of Tampa, Florida. Even though it’s a given that Facebook users in Tampa will receive notifications, those in Jacksonville most likely won’t. What this does is that it focuses on key areas, where people will be able to take more immediate action. When this happens, it’s likely that a missing child will be found, as opposed to the case spreading out for longer. On paper, it’s a great concept, as any online marketing firm may attest to.
While I see tremendous potential in this idea, though, the aforementioned talking point has me concerned. Yes, focusing on Facebook users based on location has its benefits, but it’s not like this will be beneficial for every missing child case. A young child could be abducted by someone, who will then take off and travel to a different county or state. In the previous example, would notifications given to Tampa residents be as beneficial?
There’s also the concern of Amber Alerts being lost on newsfeeds. As someone who only routinely uses Facebook, if there was a missing child case in my area, chances are that I would be able to easily see it and share it with others. What about someone who interacts with numerous people on the website? Throw in the numerous ads that a Facebook visit entails, and one has to wonder if these alerts will take precedence over advertisements in Canada, as if not to get lost in the shuffle. In this case, I am hopeful for the best.
What is your take on Facebook rolling out Amber Alerts in Canada? Leave any thoughts you have down below!
See also: What Is Facebook Phone App?