New delivery mechanism will send comprehensive, targeted alerts to Facebook community
OTTAWA, May 25, 2015 /CNW/ - Facebook Canada today announced a unique AMBER Alert delivery system, in collaboration with police authorities in provinces across Canada, that will send alerts to the Facebook community in the first critical hours after a child has been abducted.
Leveraging Facebook's scale and reach, AMBER Alerts will provide comprehensive information including a photograph and all available details about the abducted child on Facebook's mobile News Feed. The Alert will only appear in the feeds of people who are in the designated search area and therefore are most likely in a position to help. Most importantly, the Facebook community will be able to share the Alert easily and instantly with friends and family.
"We know that when a child is abducted, the most valuable thing we can do is get information out to the public as fast as possible," said Jordan Banks, Global Head of Vertical Strategy and Managing Director, Facebook Canada. "By getting the right information to the right people at the right time through targeted AMBER Alerts on Facebook, we hope to reunite missing children with their families faster."
How it works:
Once a police organization has confirmed that a case qualifies for an AMBER Alert, it is issued by the AMBER Alert coordinator for that province, sent directly to Facebook and then distributed with any available information, including a photograph of the missing child, the name and description of the child, the suspected abductor and/or description of the vehicle and its license plate number.
Law enforcement determines the range of the target area for each alert before Facebook shares it to people's News Feeds. The number of Alerts people see will depend on how many Alerts are issued in their area; however, AMBER Alerts are typically a rare occurrence. If people do receive an Alert, they will know they are in a position to help.
For years, people have used Facebook to post information about missing children. In several cases, someone saw a post or photo in their News Feed, took action and a child was safely returned to their family.
In 2014, newborn baby Victoria was returned to her parents after being abducted from a hospital in Trois-Rivières, Québec. Four young locals saw a photo of the suspect in their News Feed and took action, leading to an incredible result. Facebook's AMBER Alert system is inspired by such word-of-mouth efforts.
Facebook launched its AMBER Alert system in the United States on January 13, 2015. Since then, there has been at least one confirmed recovery of an abducted child resulting from an AMBER Alert on Facebook. Now, with the system in place in Canada as well, the hope is to reunite even more missing children with their families.
AMBER Alerts are highly effective. According to the RCMP, between 2003 and 2012, 96% of children who were the subject of an AMBER Alert were returned safely to their families.*
Additional Quotes of Support
"On behalf of the Harper Government, I applaud the launch of Facebook AMBER Alerts, a new tool that will mobilize the online community to help locate abducted Canadian children. This initiative complements our Government's strong commitment to keep our streets and communities safe, particularly when it comes to the most vulnerable members of society - our children."
-The Honourable Steven Blaney, Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
"We would like to congratulate Facebook Canada on this important initiative that will further the reach of critical information when an AMBER alert is issued through their social media platform. We know that today's announcement is just one more and important step towards protecting children and communities right across Canada. Our Most Valuable Network will continue to send out information on missing children cases that both result in the issuance of an AMBER alert as well as those critical alerts that don't meet the AMBER alert threshold criteria."
-Amanda Pick, CEO, Missing Children's Society of Canada
"When a child disappears, every second counts and statistics have shown that the rapid dissemination of information greatly increases the chances of locating a missing child, safe and sound. Facebook's geo-targeted alerts will give Amber Alerts an expanded social media and Internet presence, thus greatly enhancing our abilities to quickly recover the child."
-Pina Arcamone, Director General, Missing Children's Network
"The wireless industry applauds Facebook for leveraging its size and reach to help support this important and lifesaving initiative. We are very pleased that the industry's Wireless AMBER Alerts program is joined by this additional mechanism to disseminate AMBER Alerts to as many Canadians as possible."
-Bernard Lord, President and CEO, Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association
About Facebook Canada
Founded in 2004, Facebook's mission is to make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what's going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them. Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc. All other brand or product names mentioned may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.
SOURCE Facebook® Canada
Video with caption: "Jordan Banks, Global Head of Vertical Strategy and Managing Director, Facebook Canada, discusses why Facebook created the new AMBER Alert system for Facebook and explains how the Alerts will work in action to help police locate abducted children.". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20150525_C5346_VIDEO_EN_16954.mp4&posterurl=http%3A%2F%2Fphotos.newswire.ca%2Fimages%2F20150525_C5346_VIDEO_EN_16954.jpg&order=1&jdd=20150525&cnum=C5346
Image with caption: "Baby Victoria, Simon Boisclair, Mélissa McMahon, Jordan Banks, Global Head of Vertical Strategy and Managing Director, Facebook Canada, Celine Ethier, The Honourable Steven Blaney, Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. (CNW Group/Facebook® Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150525_C5346_PHOTO_EN_16955.jpg
For further information: Media Contact: Brooke Anderson, High Road for Facebook Canada, [email protected] / (613)-688-7778