Washington state AMBER Alerts will be published on Instagram

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Example of the new Instagram AMBER Alerts

Starting this week Instagram will bring all Washington State AMBER Alerts to Instagram feeds, providing hundreds of thousands of daily users a way to help when a child goes missing in Washington.

When a child goes missing, it is crucial to share their photo and description as quickly as possible with community members in the close vicinity. 

The U.S. Department of Justice AMBER Alert system is a critical tool in raising community awareness rapidly, leading to the successful recovery of more than 1,100 children since its founding in 1996, including dozens in Washington State alone.

Instagram will show AMBER Alerts with a photo and description of the missing person, along with a direct link to alert local law enforcement right from the app. This complements other AMBER Alerts, which you might see on your cell phone but which only show text descriptions.

Not all Instagram accounts will show the alert.

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 (the company that owns Facebook and Instagram) 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.


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