From today on, there is an additional way to help locate a missing child in Malta, and that is by simply checking your Facebook News Feed. The partnership between Facebook and the Ministry of Home Affairs and National Security and the Police Force in Malta is the latest addition to the recently launched AMBER Alert system in Malta.

The partnership was launched during a press conference held on Tuesday 7th March at the Police GHQ in Floriana, addressed by Carmelo Abela, Minister for Home Affairs and National Security; Supt. Dennis Theuma, who heads the Malta Police Force’s Vice Squad; and Emily Vacher, Facebook’s Director, Trust & Safety.

Through this cooperation, the partners hope to inform even more citizens as quickly as possible when the police issue an AMBER Alert. AMBER Alert Malta was launched on January 10th, 2017 and is a cooperation between The Ministry of Home Affairs and National Security, The Malta Police Force and AMBER Alert Europe.

Join the search to save missing children

The Minister said that AMBER Alerts can be more successful if citizens are repeatedly informed of a missing, endangered child case. If they receive the information via different channels, the chances that someone recognises the child increase. In this light, he encouraged even more potential partners that are in a good place to help the Police bring alerts to the public’s attention, to join Facebook and the other partners in this deserving initiative.

How it works

An AMBER Alert is an emergency message the police issues when a child is abducted or has gone missing, and the police fears that the life or health of the child is in danger. On Facebook, normally only users who have ‘liked’ a specific Facebook page will be receive the missing child alert. Thanks to this initiative, Facebook automatically sends an AMBER Alert to the News Feed of Facebook users in Malta. The message contains a picture of the minor and some vital information at the top of the timeline. When users press ‘Read More’, they will access more detailed information that can help retrieving the missing child as swiftly as possible. This may include the make and model of any vehicle the child has been spotted on. The users can then share the message with their network of friends via the ‘Share’ button.

Europe’s first automatic AMBER Alert

In June 2015, Facebook entered a partnership with AMBER Alert Europe to automatically show AMBER Alerts in the news feed of all Facebook users in The Netherlands. On November 11th 2015, Europe’s first automatic AMBER Alert via Facebook was used to find a 12-year-old boy from The Netherlands. The boy was found safe the same day.