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Police to use Facebook to find missing children

The government will distribute information on missing children via Facebook starting mid-May, in hopes of bettering its chance of finding them through the popular social networking site.

The National Police Agency said Tuesday that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Facebook to send alerts to its users’ mobile phones if they are in a search area where the children have gone missing.

The service, called an “amber alert” in the U.S., will allow users to receive information such as missing children’s photos, names and ages. It will send the alerts 3.5 times per month and release them only with the parent’s consent.

Until now, police relied only on its smartphone application to spread information on missing children. The alerts were also shared among local banks, media outlets and hospitals.

With the new alert system, the police will access nearly 14 million Facebook users nationwide and the company’s location tracking system to track down missing children.

The police also signed an agreement with Korea’s top portal operator Naver to distribute missing children information since late April.

By Yeo Jun-suk (