The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) launched the AMBER Alert Twitter account this week, looking to use the account to alert millions of Twitter users about abducted children.
From the press release announcing the new account:
“Since it was created in 1996, the AMBER Alert program has grown into a powerful national network that has helped to safely recover 679 abducted children,” said Karol V. Mason, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs and National AMBER Alert Coordinator. “By adding Twitter to the network, we greatly enhance our ability to reach the public and are able to make this important public safety tool even more effective.”
When law enforcement issues AMBER Alerts, broadcasters and transportation agencies distribute the alerts. The alerts are also sent to NCMEC, which resends them through a network of secondary distributors such as ISPs and cell phones. This secondary network now includes Twitter.
This isn’t the first time that Twitter has been used as an emergency alert system. Back in 2011 Japan began experimenting with simulating disaster response via Twitter. And more recently, Twitter itself launched an Alerts service in the US, the UK, Japan, Korea and Ireland.
(Smartphone alert image via Shutterstock)