Ontario’s AMBER Alert program linked to social media feeds

June 3, 2015   ·   0 Comments

When a child goes missing, the first few hours have been identified as the most crucial to the safe recovery of the child, which is why the Ontario AMBER Alert program has worked hard to help people understand the importance of spreading the word as quickly as possible regarding reported cases.

The program uses social media to help spread information regarding a child abduction case.

Because of social media’s viral nature, it enables them to reach hundreds of thousands of Canadians within mere moments of the alert being sent out.

Since 2010, Ontario AMBER Alert has managed a Facebook page to help communicate information regarding abductions within the process.

According to a recent press release, the page has a following of approximately 185,000 people and has been found to be incredibly effective. On occasion, it has also been used to communicate other child safety messaging.

In 2014, Ontario AMBER Alert created a Twitter account (AMBER Alert Ontario – @OPP_Coordinator), which now has in excess of 10,0000 followers and has been utilized during AMBER Alert activations to communicate information to the public. The account has also been used to gain public attention during a number of high-risk missing children’s cases.

On May 25, Ontario AMBER Alert announced their new partnership with Toronto-based Social Horse Power ( to bring technology which will allow social media users to donate their social media feeds in the event of an Amber Alert. The new system interacts with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIN, and for those who have signed up to participate, allows their social media feeds to be temporarily taken over by the Ontario AMBER Alert program.

On their website,, the organization announced the partnership, adding that each year, more than 50,000 children are reported missing across Canada.

“Even though most parents emphasize not to talk to strangers, the vast majority of children who go missing are actually runaways,” wrote on their blog. “When a child is actually abducted, the abductor is often someone the child knows, whether it be a parent, the babysitter, or a close family friend. It’s important to note, that even though the child knows their abductor doesn’t necessarily mean they’re safe.”

Users who sign up to be part of the Social Horse Power platform can vet the messaging and information generated by trusted AMBER Alert sites will post directly to newsfeeds on the selected social media applications in the form of a status update. The technology has been used successfully since May 2012 by the Missing Children’s Society of Canada (MSCS).

“With people of all ages spending three times the amount of time on Facebook than any other website in the world, Facebook is a valuable, untapped resource for spreading these alerts,” added on their post. “By giving people the ability to instantly share Amber Alerts to their profile, each AMBER Alert will reach more people than ever before.”

Early this year, Facebook announced a new program in the United States that allows it to target a defined area with AMBER Alert Activation information when a child has been abducted.

This system is now available in Ontario and in Canada. The information is viewed through a responsive design poster that can format itself based on the screen size the alert is being viewed in, and is available in both French and English. It will also appear on during any AMBER alert activation, and Facebook’s geo-targeted delivery system will post a nification on All Facebook Users’ newsfeeds within a pre-determined radius of the last known location.

Ontario AMBER Alert launched these new social media enhancement programs in support of International Missing Children’s Day.

“Everyone has a role to play in protecting children,” wrote the OPP in their official release last week.

“These enhancements and the public’s attention to AMBER Alerts support bringing children home safely.”

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.