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What just happened? Starting Wednesday, Instagram users' feeds will start displaying Amber Alerts to notify them of nearby missing children. Bringing notices to the popular social network should significantly broaden their reach and help authorities locate missing children.
Amber Alerts will start appearing in US Instagram feeds today. Over the next two weeks, they'll come to 24 other countries, including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Ecuador, Greece, Guatemala, Ireland, Jamaica, Korea, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, South Africa, Taiwan, Ukraine, the UK, and the United Arab Emirates.
Twitter doesn't officially support Amber Alerts but accounts often post them — a testament to the importance of social media for finding missing children today. Facebook has supported Amber Alerts since 2015, and Meta says they've since helped solve hundreds of child endangerment cases across the globe. Instagram users will be able to share Amber Alerts they receive to spread them further.
Amber Alerts are only supposed to reach users near a designated search area. Instagram determines this by checking the city each user lists in their profile, each device's IP address, and any active location services.
The alerts include essential information like a child's photo, description, or last known location. The company developed the feature in partnership with groups including but not limited to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in the US, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children, the National Crime Agency in the UK, the Attorney General's Office in Mexico, and the Australian Federal Police.