Facebook makes moves to be more local


Augusta, GA (WJBF) – We all get them, push notifications from different apps on our computers and mobile devices.

Although Facebook isn’t a news organization, it’s rolling out a new alert system to help users receive important information as soon as it happens.
NewsChannel 6’s Ashley Flete shares more.

Facebook wants local alerts to be an additional platform for emergency responders and local governments to get information out during everyday emergencies like water main breaks and road closures, or more extreme events like national disasters, mandatory evacuations and active shooters.

Most of us are “in the know” thanks to social media. It’s one of the ways we keep up with what is going on around us. Facebook has partnered with 360 agencies across the us testing it’s new ‘local alert’ initiative.”

“It really is one of the more effective ways that we can reach a wide group of people in a very short time.”American Red Cross of Augusta executive director, Susan Everett, says social media also serves as an educational resource.

“We also use it to let people know that we have a program called well and good. If you are displaced or you have a family member displaced it is a way we can connect family members.”

The local alerts through Facebook initiative comes after Facebook users said they wanted more local news and community information.

“Especially if it’s crime related. It will be a good thing to know like hey you local shopping center. There’s something going on and if yo fell unsafe then you don’t have to go there.”

Once the first part of the trial was completed–feedback was highly positive from people surveyed who saw posts during the testing. Which encouraged facebook to roll this out nationally.

Emilee Craven, a social media user said, “When something is going on you don’t want to be blind sided, you want to know about it right then and there, so I think It’s a really good idea.”

By giving the agencies the ability to select the affected counties, cities, towns or neighborhoods that should receive notifications, it helps ensure that local authorities reach only those people they need to reach during urgent situations.

Mckenzie Bernaare, a social media user said, “More older people are on it and can warn their families and their kids”.

If you want to receive local alerts on Facebook, be sure to follow the Facebook page(s) of the first responders in your community, or subscribe to receive regular local updates.

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