Facebook is to send missing child alerts to users in the UK

Facebook is to start sending missing child alerts to UK-based users within the designated search area to help raise public awareness of cases.

The new Child Rescue Alert system comes into effect from today, and is the result of a partnership between the social network, charity Missing People, the National Crime Agency and communications firm Groupcall Limited.

(Jonathan Brady/PA)

When an alert is issued, a Facebook post will now be shown in the News Feed of those in a position to help the most – Facebook says this is those who are “directly within the precise and designated search area”.

The move follows a similar scheme that was introduced in the US and Canada in January.

Missing People’s Jo Youle said: “Our aim with Child Rescue Alert is to reach as many people as possible in the local area when a child is abducted or disappears with immediate risk to life.

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“While we of course hope that we don’t have to use this system, this partnership with Facebook will make a huge difference in extending the number of eyes and ears on the ground when the worst happens.”

If an alert is activated and a user is within the designated area, the alert will appear as the second item on a user’s News Feed, Facebook says.

Alerts will normally contain a photo, description, last known location and any other information that can be shared with the public, the social network added.

Emily Vacher, Facebook’s trust and safety manager said: “More than half of the people in the UK use Facebook.

“All over the world, we’ve seen communities rallying together in times of need, using Facebook to spread the word – and these alerts will make that quicker and help to reach more people than ever before during these exceptionally stressful and worrying times.

“Working in partnership with several of the UK’s most critical support organisations, we hope we can enlist even more people to help reunite children with their families.”


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