Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

In this special report, we take time to look at work being done to help find missing children in SA at a time when such cases are on the rise.

Our host Mudiwa Gavaza joins Emily Vacher, Facebook’s director of trust and safety at the company’s offices in Johannesburg to discuss their partnership with the SA Police Service (SAPS) to help find children by sending amber alerts to the Facebook community in SA.

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Through the Newsfeed feature on Facebook, people will instantly be able toshare important information about a missing child and suspected abductor, such as a photo, hair colour and clothing, with their friends, family and groups. A former FBI agent having worked in the child abduction team in the US, Vacher says amber alerts links with Facebook have resulted in the successful rescue of missing and abducted children in several jurisdictions since the programme was launched in 2015.

SA is the first country in Africa in which the social media giant has launched this feature. Vacher says that the SAPS will assess each case against set criteria before authorising amber alerts. The police will then notify Facebook that a verified alert is active; Facebook will then send it to the news feeds of people located in targeted search areas in SA.

She also gives a brief history of their work with law enforcement agencies in different territories, explains how the system works and gives possible lessons for the SA market.

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