Social media helpful in search for missing people
Many people have turned to the aid of social media to look for a missing loved one, with platforms such as Facebook and Twitter an easy and helpful way to get the word out.
One American man, Tony Loftis, has created an organisation dedicated to finding missing children with the help of social media, after his own daughter had gone missing in November last year.
Mr Loftis used Twitter and Facebook to help spread the word, leading to online news articles being written and appearing live on TV, where his daughter was safely returned after a tip from a member of the public.
Find Your Missing Child was setup to teach families and community agencies how to “maximize their use of social and traditional media” to find missing people.
Mr Loftis – who has 15 years experience in community and public relations – has created a guide book for parents of missing and runaway children, which helps to put in place a social media strategy that can assist in finding their loved one.
On November 1, Google announced on its blog that it had launched AMBER alerts, aimed at bringing abducted children home safely.
This was coordinated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the Google Public Alerts platform, with public alerts designed to deliver emergency alerts when they’re relevant.
“If you’re using Google search or maps on desktop and mobile you’ll see an AMBER Alert if you search for related information in a particular location where a child has recently been abducted and an alert was issued,” Phil Coakley of the Google Public Alerts team posted.
“You’ll also see an alert if you conduct a targeted search for the situation. By increasing the availability of these alerts through our services, we hope that more people will assist in the search for children featured in AMBER Alerts and that the rates of safe recovery will rise.”
AMBER alerts provide information about the abducted child and information about the case as it becomes available.
Google is working with Missing Children Europe and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to try and make the service available to more countries.
Posted by April Revake.