Facebook launches an alert system in Guatemala to locate missing children

Facebook presented a tool to locate missing children in Guatemala in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General.

In recent years, Facebook has become more than a social network. The company, founded by Marck Zuckerberg, is now also a tool to help in emergencies.

In a press release, Facebook security director Emily Vacher recalled that the social network is used in many ways and for different purposes. From the platform, people congratulate their friends on their birthday or share photos with family members who live on the other side of the world.

But recently, executives noted that Facebook was also used to add friends and family to searches for children reported missing. On several occasions, some people helped bring a child back home safely when they saw the post or photo in their Facebook News Feed.

One case was critical for this. In October 2016, an alert was issued on Facebook after a four-year-old girl was reported missing in Florida, United States. Kaytlin Brown, an anesthetist at a Memphis hospital, recognized her when she saw the alert during her lunch. The immediate response of the community helped rescue the girl. That kind of attitude, from mouth to mouth, inspired the company to develop a systematic way to help find missing children.

In recent days, Facebook presented this same tool in Guatemala in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General. It will work under the name Alertas Alba-Keneth, in memory of Alba Michelle Spain and Keneth Alexis López, whose disappearance case shocked all of Guatemala.

When a child is reported missing, the system will send Alba-Keneth Alerts on Facebook to people in areas considered of particular interest for the search. Alerts will include detailed information and a photo of the child. People will be able to consult them to take action, know data that they could have missed, as well as share them with their friends.

The chances of finding a missing child use to increase when people are alerted in the first 24 hours. The company’s goal is for this tool to help the information reach a higher number of people and encourage them to share the official photo of the child that cannot be located.