Instagram Now Sharing AMBER Alerts
Instagram is now posting AMBER Alerts to notify the public about abducted children. The alerts are being placed on the social media platform in the U.S. and 24 other countries. Meta, the parent group of Instagram and Facebook, said Instagram will share the alerts in a designated area based on the user’s IP address and location. AMBER Alerts have been posted on Facebook since 2015. Google began issuing the alerts to users of its Search and Maps tools in 2012. “With this update, if an AMBER Alert is activated by law enforcement and you are in the designated search area, the alert will now appear in your Instagram feed,” said Meta Director of Trust & Safety Emily Vacher. The Instagram posts are part of a partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Texas boy suffers hearing loss after AMBER Alert blared through AirPods
Tech giant Apple is being sued after a 12-year-old boy said he suffered permanent hearing damage after getting a loud AMBER Alert while using his AirPods. The Texas boy said he was listening to a program at a low volume when a very loud AMBER Alert notification ruptured his eardrums. The boy’s parents said Apple failed to warn AirPods users about the design flaw.
North Carolina police consider charges against teen who faked abduction
The Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Police Department is investigating a 17-year-old boy who sparked an AMBER Alert after he claimed he was kidnapped. The teen sent pictures and text messages to family members saying he had been abducted and the kidnappers wanted money or he would be killed. Police are considering charges because of the waste of law enforcement resources.
Couple wanted in AN AMBER Alert attempts to sue Texas police
Two women plan to sue the Harker Heights, Texas, Police Department for issuing an AMBER Alert and accusing the couple of kidnapping a 2-month-old girl. The women said the baby’s mother left the child with them and was planning to give them legal guardianship. Police issued the alert after the baby’s father claimed the couple would not give the child to him.
Alaska updates its emergency notification system
Alaska State Troopers launched a new statewide system to issue AMBER Alerts and other emergency notifications. The new tool allows Alaskans to subscribe to email and SMS alerts related to significant law enforcement activity in an area, evacuation information, missing persons bulletins, suspect information, and other timely alerts. Alaskans can sign up for alerts at alerts.dps.alaska.gov/subscribe.
Pennsylvania judge recommends dismissing AMBER Alert suspect’s lawsuit
A federal judge has recommended terminating a lawsuit against the Northumberland County Children & Youth Department in Pennsylvania. Sawsan Hadidi filed a $5 million suit against the agency after an AMBER Alert was issued when she left her home with her children. Hadidi was arrested in Chicago in September 2020 and later pleaded no contest to concealing her children.