(CN) – The Justice Department is partnering with Facebook and Bing to expand the reach of the Amber Alert System.
Beginning this week, Facebook will begin sending alerts to its members in designated search areas and Bing will allow users to access Amber Alerts through its online tools.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced the partnership Tuesday, which is National Amber Alert Awareness Day.
“Protecting the well-being of our young people is a responsibility that falls to every American,” Holder said in a videotaped message. “Each of us can help by paying close attention to alerts that come in – and by making sure you are plugged into the Amber Alert network via social media.
“Remember: finding an abducted child and returning him or her to safety depends on a fast response. The more vigilant citizens we have on the look-out, the better our chances of a quick recovery,” the attorney general said.
In a separate announcement, Facebook said it will post amber alerts in news feeds in a targeted area when a child has been abducted and the national center issues an alert.
Law enforcement officials will determine the area that will be blanketed by the messages.
The social media giant said the alerts will contain a photo and a link to the missing child’s information, which the reader can then share with friends.
Holder said in practice, “Facebook’s geo-targeted alerts and Bing’s online broadcast tools will give Amber Alerts an expanded social media and Internet presence – extending our web of child protection resources into new and critical areas.”
Since 1996, when it became operational, the Amber Alert system has helped in the return of more than 700 abducted children.
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