Facebook announces plans to help find missing children

Facebook will start integrating 'AMBER Alerts' into U.S. users News Feed. The child abduction agency focuses on getting information on a missing child to local news-stations, and will now be able to tap into 185 million active U.S. Facebook users.

Notifications will show up at the top of the News Feed, if the missing child was last spotted close to the user's location. Facebook will use birthplace or current residence, if the user does not have geo-location active.

Facebook will automatically update its service to add these Amber Alerts, meaning users do not have to opt-in. The average user should see 1-2 Amber Alerts per year, according to Facebook.

Emily Vacher, Facebook head of global safety, told USA Today "When a child goes missing, the most important thing is getting out the relevant information, the correct information, to the right people at the right time."

Facebook can play a massive part in the search party, getting the information out to people who may not have signed up for text updates or watch the local news.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has worked in partnership with Facebook on the program, making sure Amber Alerts will be seen by the most people possible to make a difference.

NCMEC claims over 800 children have been found thanks to Amber Alerts, and this new integration with Facebook should boost the numbers.

Facebook will add all sorts of information on the child, including a photograph, name, background information and potentially an address. Any current information, like last whereabouts and clothes, will also be added into the description.

Users will be able to get in touch with U.S. authorities if they have any information on the child abduction, but Facebook will not add calling services, allowing users to ring 911 from the app.

Amber Alerts will be pushed to U.S. users today.