Instagram rolls out AMBER Alert feature to users | #missingkids


TRI-CITIES, Wash. — Instagram is known for its filtered flicks of fun, food, and friends — but starting this week, users may see more than their typical feed.

The social media giant is working with local law enforcement and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to push AMBER Alerts onto the user’s app.

“When law enforcement activates an AMBER Alert, people in the designated search area will see it in their Instagram feed. A photo, description, location of last sighting and other details will be provided to encourage people to alert any possible sightings to law enforcement,” a news release said. “If an Instagram user thinks they’ve seen the missing child, they can click on a link in their feed to call the police department in the area. They can also share the alert with friends to further spread the word.”

Roya Winner, a communications manager for social impact at Meta — the company that owns Instagram — said when it comes to finding those children that “every second counts.”

“It’s the speed, the accessibility, and also just making it easier for people to share,” Winner said, noting the company is “proud” to bring this feature out to not only Washingtonians but users around the world.

“I just think it’s great when when tools like this on our platforms can help people become those everyday heroes,” Winner said. “If you get this alert you could really be the difference in helping save a child’s life.”

In Washington state, dozens of children are missing.

Sgt. Rigo Pruneda with the Pasco Police Department said AMBER Alerts are a crucial tool when it comes to finding those who are lost.

“Five years ago, we had one here in Pasco. A one-year-old female child was stolen in a vehicle and the person that called us and found the car got it on his AMBER Alert on his cell phone,” Sgt. Pruneda said. “We can’t do it by ourselves. There’s not enough police officers in the state to be able to find a vehicle, to find a missing child so we need the community’s support. They’re our eyes and our ears.”

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