Instagram will start pushing Amber Alerts to users’ feeds to notify them about missing children in their area. The company says the feature will start rolling out tomorrow and it will be live in 25 countries over “the next couple of weeks.”
Even so, Instagram users shouldn’t expect to see them very often. The company notes that the alerts are meant to be “rare and specific to the search area.” Instagram will use factors like IP addresses and location data (if enabled) in order to determine which accounts to push the notices too.
When they do appear, the alerts will crop up in users feeds, not as in-app notifications. Unlike the mobile notifications that are often pushed via wireless carriers for Amber Alerts, Instagram's version will include a photo and description of the missing child, as well other relevant details, like where they were last seen. There will also be a phone number to report sightings or other tips to law enforcement.
While not the first time Meta has added Amber Alerts — Facebook started surfacing them to users in 2015 — the company notes Instagram could be particularly impactful as it’s a “visual-first” platform that is already widely used by teens.