Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Facebook Users Can Sign Up to Get Missing-Children Alerts

Facebook users can now volunteer to get notifications on the service when children go missing in their U.S. state. A set of Amber Alert pages launched on the site today as part of a partnership between the service and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Department of Justice. Users who “like” the pages will get alerts from them in their news feeds.

The Amber Alert program has helped find 525 abducted children in the past 15 years. Its methods of communication include radio, television, digital billboards and text messaging. The idea of adding Facebook is to spread notifications to more people and more quickly in the crucial hours after a child is abducted.

You can find a directory of the Facebook Amber Alert pages here (it looks like there was a previous independently developed Facebook application of the same name that is still leading search results, for the time being). Facebook is also contributing 50 million advertising impressions to promote the program.

Please see the disclosure about Facebook in my ethics statement.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik