TUCSON, Ariz. — In times of crisis, it can be hard to gather the most current information on what is happening in our local areas.
Many of us will automatically turn to our phones to figure out how something as big as a hurricane or localized as road work will impact our lives. Facebook has seen such a positive impact from a new tool it’s been testing, that it’s expanding it nationally by the end of the year.
Local Alerts enables local governments and first responders to communicate urgent information when it directly affects people in their community or requires them to take action, such as road closures, blackouts or natural disasters.
Over the past year, information officers from over 350 local governments have used local alerts in a huge range of everyday emergencies -and some crises – including flash flood warnings, mandatory evacuations, 911 outages, missing people reports, water main breaks, active shooters, road closures, winter storms, trash pickup schedule changes, extreme temperature warnings, bomb threats, and more.
When authorities mark posts as local alerts, Facebook greatly amplifies their reach so that people living in an affected community are much more likely to see them.
Facebook sends notifications to people living in the affected area, and also shows that information on Today In, a new place on the site for local news, community information, and conversations between neighbors.
You’ll also see the local alert indicator next to that post in News Feed.