Facebook to the Rescue of Missing Children in UAE

Published December 11th, 2018 - 02:34 GMT
If the system is activated by the police after getting a complaint from a parent, the alert appears on the Facebook page of users in the designated search area. (Shutterstock)
If the system is activated by the police after getting a complaint from a parent, the alert appears on the Facebook page of users in the designated search area. (Shutterstock)

If you see a 'Missing Child Alert' notification on your Facebook account, be on the lookout as your vigilance could help reunite a missing child with his/her family. The UAE became the first in the region and the 20th worldwide to become part of Facebook's Missing Child Alert system on Sunday.

"We want people to realise that these alerts are rare and specific to the search area. If you get one, it means there is an active search for a missing child going on around you and your eyes and ears could help make the difference in reuniting that child with his or her family," Facebook said in a statement.

If the system is activated by the police after getting a complaint from a parent, the alert appears on the Facebook page of users in the designated search area. The decision to declare an alert is made by the Ministry of Interior when investigating abductions.

"Alerts will be shown to people who are most likely in a position to help - those directly within the designated search area. For example, if a child is abducted in Abu Dhabi, the alert won't go to everyone in Dubai, it will only go to those in the specific, limited search area," Facebook added.

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The alert will include important details about the child such as a photo, description, location of the abduction, and any other available information that can be provided to the public to aid in the search. "People are also able share the alert with friends to further spread the word and help galvanise the community."

Emily Vacher, Director of Trust and Safety for Facebook, said: "We are proud to partner with the UAE Ministry of Interior to introduce the Missing Child Alert to help reunite families. When a child is missing, the most valuable thing we can do is get information out to the public as quickly as possible. With the scale of the Facebook community and innovative technologies, together with the UAE's law enforcement agencies, we are committed to ensuring the safety of children across the country."

When is the system activated?

The decision to declare an alert is made by Ministry of Interior when investigating abductions. Once the police have been notified about an abducted child, they must first determine if the case meets their alert criteria, which are:

>The child is under the age of 18

>There is a reasonable belief that the child has been abducted

>There is a reasonable belief that there is an immediate and serious risk to the health or welfare of a child

>There is sufficient information available to enable the public to assist Ministry of Interior in locating the child


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