Anybody who has watched a lot of American films and TV shows will be familiar with the phrase AMBER alert.

The alert is usually sent out when a child goes missing and South Africa will now have access to a similar system through Facebook.

This morning, Facebook together with the South African Police Service (SAPS) launched the Amber Alert system in South Africa.

The system relies on people reporting a missing child to the police. The police will then deliver this information to the National Bureau for Missing Persons which will then forward that on to Facebook’s International Headquarters.

Once this information has been received, Facebook users within a 160km radius from where the child was reported missing will receive an alert on their Facebook feed.

The alert will feature a photo of the child as well as information on how to report a sighting to the authorities. You will also be able to contact the Crime Stop hotline on 086 00 10111 with relevant information.

This entire process from reporting to Amber Alert, should take minutes and the alert will be visible for 24 hours or until such time as SAPS cancels the alert.

To be clear, only the SAPS can request that an Amber Alert be activated. Members of the public then will have to report missing children to the police before an alert is sent out to Facebook users.

It’s also worth remembering that a person doesn’t have to be missing for 24 hours before you can report them as such. In fact, with the Amber Alert system in place, it will be better to report a missing child as soon as possible so that the alert can reach folks and they can react more quickly.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]