Facebook expands local alerts tool
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact communities across Australia, Facebook has vowed to help local governments, police and emergency services communicate time-sensitive and need-to-know information to people on Facebook.
Facebook's head of public policy in Australia Josh Machin said it is important that people receive timely, local updates in situations that directly affect them or that require them to take action, such as severe emergency weather warnings or major road closures.
To this end the company is announcing the expansion of its Local Alerts product to all eligible state and territory health, police and lead central government pages.
This expansion will help government agencies connect with communities to find missing persons, share information on COVID-19 outbreaks or ‘hotspots’ and provide critical updates during disasters or significant hazards.
For example, with COVID-19 outbreaks continuing to occur in different parts of the country, Local Alerts could be used to advise communities about updated case locations, travel restrictions or lockdown areas as situations develop and evolve.
"Since the rollout of this feature six months ago to Australian fire and emergency services, we’ve seen Local Alerts used to provide critical and real-time information during bushfire, cyclone and flood emergency situations," Mr Machin said.
"We hope this feature will become another important communication tool for health, police and central government agencies to share updates to people about critical events happening in their local area."
The Local Alerts feature is designed to help authorities communicate urgent, need-to-know or actionable information to communities in emergencies as well as less critical situations where timely information is valuable.
When authorities with access to the product mark posts as Local Alerts, Facebook will send a notification to Page followers located in the affected area and mark the post as an alert to make it stand out in their News Feed.
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