The Malta Independent 20 January 2022, Thursday

Facebook teams up with the Malta Police Force’s AMBER Alert System for missing children

Tuesday, 7 March 2017, 18:29 Last update: about 6 years ago

From today on, there is an additional way to help locate a missing child in Malta, and that is by simply checking your Facebook News Feed. Facebook’s partnership with the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security and the Police Force is the latest addition to the recently launched AMBER Alert system in Malta. AMBER Alert allows Facebook users to receive specific alerts on their timelines whenever a child is abducted or is reported missing and is at imminent risk of harm.

The initiative was launched during a joint press conference held today at the Police HQ, presided over by Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela, Police Superintendent Dennis Theuma and Ms Emily Vacher, Facebook’s Trust & Safety Director. Through this cooperation, the partners hope to inform even more people as quickly as possible when the police issue an AMBER Alert.

An AMBER Alert is an emergency message the police issues when a child is abducted or has gone missing, and the police fears that the life or health of the child is in danger. From now on, Facebook users in Malta will automatically receive an AMBER Alert in their news feed. The message contains a photograph and vital information that will assist the public in locating the child. When users press ‘Learn More’, they will access more detailed information that can help retrieving the missing child as swiftly as possible. This may include the make and model of any vehicle involved in the abduction. The users can also share the message with their network of friends via the ‘Share’ button.

This initiative is an extremely important collaboration for the immediate, accurate and timely distribution of information to the people in the area of the missing child. Talking about the importance of the AMBER Alert system, Ms. Εmily Vacher, stated: “We know that when a child is missing, the most valuable thing we can do is get information out to the public as quickly as possible. By getting the right information to the right people, at the right time, through AMBER Alerts on Facebook, we hope to help reunite missing children with their families faster.”

Minister Carmelo Abela said: “Facebook’s partnership is a valuable addition to the recently launched AMBER Alert System in Malta, an effective way to use the power of our community in a bid to save children’s lives. The earlier the search begins and the bigger the number of people alerted, the better the chance of finding a missing, endangered child increases. Facebook’s  decision, being the most popular social networking site in Malta, to team up with our Police Force, means that, in the eventuality of a missing endangered child, more people will be able to get involved in the search in those crucial first hours.”

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