South Africa is among the 25 countries that will see the new Instagram feature AMBER Alerts notifying users when a child goes missing in their area.
According to Instagram, this feature was developed in partnership with organizations like the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the US, the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children, the National Crime Agency in the UK, the Attorney General’s Office in Mexico, the Australian Federal Police and more.
They said the feature has been successful in helping authorities find and quickly locate missing children on Facebook since 2015.
“We know that the chances of finding a missing child increase when more people are on the lookout, especially in the first few hours. With this update, if an AMBER Alert is activated by law enforcement and you are in the designated search area, the alert will now appear in your Instagram feed,” they said.
The alerts will include important details such as description, photos location of the abduction and any other available information that can be provided. It will also allow people to share the alert with friends to further spread the word.
“These alerts are rare and specific to the search area. If you get one, it means there is an active search for a missing child nearby. In order to know who to show these alerts to, we use a variety of signals, including the city you list on your profile, your IP address and location services (if you have it turned on)” they added.
Instagram stated that the new feature started rolling out on June 1 and will be fully available in the next couple of weeks in 25 countries including South Africa, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Ecuador, Greece, Guatemala, Ireland, Jamaica, Korea, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, Taiwan, Ukraine, the UK, the United Arab Emirates and the US.