Meta, owners of Facebook and other social media platforms on Wednesday announced the launch of the AMBER Alert Programme on Facebook and Instagram in Nigeria.
Working in partnership with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), this programme is aimed at helping to find abducted children by sending AMBER Alerts to the local Facebook and Instagram communities in Nigeria.
AMBER Alert is designed to increase the chances of finding missing children by putting more people on the lookout for them. When an AMBER Alert is activated by law enforcement, the alert will appear on the Facebook and Instagram Feed of users within the designated search area, enabling them to share the information instantly with friends or contact the authorities if they have leads.
AMBER Alert is designed to include important information about the missing child such as a photo description, location of the abduction, and other relevant and available information to aid in immediately identifying the missing child.
Emily Vacher, Meta’s Director of Trust and Safety, said: “Already available across 28 countries globally, we are proud to partner with NAPTIP to make AMBER Alert available in Nigeria – the second African country to join this programme. When there is a reported case of a missing child, the most valuable thing one can do is share information as quickly as possible. By working with law enforcement in helping to share the right information with the right people, we hope that missing children will be safely reunited with their families faster.”
In emphasising the importance of this launch, Adaora Ikenze, Meta’s Head of Public Policy, Anglophone West Africa, said: “This partnership with NAPTIP is another important milestone in reinforcing our ongoing commitment to Nigeria. We know our apps can be used as a force for good, and the AMBER Alert launch across Instagram and Facebook highlights this.”
The decision to declare an AMBER Alert is made by NAPTIP when investigating a suspected abduction case, they must first determine if the case meets their Amber Alert criteria, which include:
● The abduction is of a child age 17 or younger
● NAPTIP must have a reasonable belief that there has been an abduction.
● NAPTIP believes the victim is in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or exploitation.
● There is enough descriptive information about the victim and suspected abduction for law enforcement to issue an AMBER Alert to assist in recovering the child.
Once these criteria have been met, NAPTIP will then notify Meta’s Global Security Operations Centre, which operates 24/7, that a verified AMBER Alert is active. Meta will then send the alert to the News Feeds of people located in targeted search areas in Nigeria.
Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi, the Director General of NAPTIP also said, “Today we are partnering with Meta to launch the AMBER Alert Programme on Facebook and Instagram to help ensure faster response in finding missing children.
With these alerts, more people can be on the lookout for kids reported missing in their vicinity and report all leads to relevant authorities. NAPTIP cherishes every aspect of the intending collaboration and we are indeed glad to be on board with Meta”.
AMBER Alert Programme launched on Facebook in 2015 and since then has assisted in hundreds of successful child endangerment cases in the US and around the world.
One such case happened in 2020 when Amanda Disley and her husband helped rescue 11-year-old Charlotte Moccia of Springfield, Massachusetts, after seeing an AMBER Alert on Facebook. Before that, a four-year-old girl recovered after Kaytlin Brown saw an AMBER Alert issued on Facebook on her lunch break and quickly took action.
In June 2022, Meta added Instagram to the AMBER Alerts Programme across the world by making it available in 28 additional countries, and now, in Nigeria. As part of the launch of AMBER Alerts in Nigeria, Meta and NAPTIP will be educating users in Nigeria on how to identify AMBER Alerts on their feeds and what to do when they see an alert.