*Above video courtesy of Meta/Instagram and NCMEC*
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Instagram users in Florida will start receiving a new type of notification from the app starting June 1. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, in 2020, the state of Florida had the second most AMBER Alerts in the country.
In partnership with Meta, owner of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, NCMEC will now show AMBER Alerts on Instagram, with photographs and descriptions of the missing individuals provided by the Florida State Police.
The alerts on Instagram will be in addition to the typical text-only alerts sent out on cell phones.
“Instagram is a platform based on the power of photos, making it a perfect fit for the AMBER Alert program,” Michelle DeLaune, President and CEO at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, said. “We know that photos are a critical tool in the search for missing children and by expanding the reach to the Instagram audience, we’ll be able to share photos of missing children with so many more people.”
According to a representative, the AMBER Alerts on Instagram will work as follows.
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.
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.
To know who to show these alerts to, Meta uses a variety of signals, including the city you list on your profile, your IP address and location services (if you have it turned on). These alerts allow people wherever they are, on their phone, to be on the lookout.