facebook emergency alert

Facebook rolls out emergency alert tool

Local government and first responders will soon be able to use Facebook to spread information about emergencies.

Information officers from over 350 local governments have been testing Facebook's free local alerts to warn residents of flash floods, missing persons, road closures and active shooters.

When authorities mark posts as local alerts, Facebook amplifies their reach by sending notifications to people living in the affected area and showing that information on Today In, a Facebook section for local news and community information. The local alert icon also appears next to the post in users' news feed.

As feedback from municipalities testing the feature came in, the company added the ability to target the alerts for the affected counties, cities, towns or neighborhoods. Facebook plans to roll out the alerts program to those who manage a city government, county government, fire/emergency services or law enforcement department page on the social network by the end of the year.

Agencies that want to participate can apply here, and Facebook will let them know when the service is available in their area.

About the Author

Susan Miller is executive editor at GCN.

Over a career spent in tech media, Miller has worked in editorial, print production and online, starting on the copy desk at IDG’s ComputerWorld, moving to print production for Federal Computer Week and later helping launch websites and email newsletter delivery for FCW. After a turn at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, where she worked to promote technology-based economic development, she rejoined what was to become 1105 Media in 2004, eventually managing content and production for all the company's government-focused websites. Miller shifted back to editorial in 2012, when she began working with GCN.

Miller has a BA and MA from West Chester University and did Ph.D. work in English at the University of Delaware.

Connect with Susan at [email protected] or @sjaymiller.

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