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Miramichier Helps Form Partnership Between Amber Alert and Facebook


T


unique partnership between Amber Alert and Facebook was


conceived by Allan McCullough of Miramichi, NB. While attending a meeting in March with Facebook officials and his wife, Dr. Parry Aftab, who is a member of Facebook’s International Safety Advisory Board,Allan learned that Facebook had the capability to reach users identified with a specific province or state. He asked if this new capability could be used to broadcast an Amber Alert and Facebook agreed that would be a powerful use of its network. He then volunteered to help make it happen in Canada. Allan turned to


the provincialAmber Alert


Steering


Committee in NB to get the ball rolling. It took several months for the first page to go live. PEI went live in a couple of weeks. Both became the models for all of Canada’s Amber Alert Committees. “This could not happened


have


without the help and support of the tireless leaders in Amber Alert of each province,” Allan said. “And it could not have happened this fast in any other country in the world.” The arrangementwas brokered byAllan


were there at every step, not just agreeing to help create the pages for each province, but also agreeing to remove all third-party advertisements,which has never been done before; police any fake pages and unofficial uses of the Canadian Amber Alert brand; and remove the ability of unauthorized users to post comments. In October, Allan helped launch


Ontario’s officialAmberAlert page.Within hours it had more than 10,000 fans and within days it had 92,000 fans. The other provinces are finalizing their plans to launch similar pages as soon as possible.


that community. Traditional broadcast partners, such as television, radio, print and wireless industries have been long supporters of Amber Alert. In PEI the Ministry of Fisheries is also involved, alerting the large number of fishing boat owners and ship captains who populate the Island to look out for someone trying to leave with the abducted child. Allan has devoted his life to protecting


Allan McCullough and Dr. Parry Aftab with Seamus O'Regan on CTV's "Canada AM" program. Facebook has more than 500 million


between Amber Alert officials throughout Canada and Facebook itself, with a little help from his wife. It doesn’t exist yet anywhere else in theworld although theUS are expected to bring their Amber Alerts to Facebook soon. More than anyone, Allan credits the


safety, security and policy teams at Facebook for making this a reality. They


users, includingmore than half of Canada’s population making it the most popular website in Canada. While no Amber Alert has been called


in either PEI or NB, Ontario has called an Amber Alert 19 times with 12 of the children being found. This year, Ontario called four Amber Alerts and all the children were returned. Amber Alert is a powerful tool that


enlists the help of the entire community. Facebook is a perfect platformfor reaching


children since 1985 when his uncle was involved in a search for a missing teen in Maine. The 15 year old girl was found brutally murdered after having been molested. Her murderer was a convicted repeat sex offender out on a day pass. Following the murder, he began volunteering for victim services on PEI before moving to Miramichi to study game design at the NBCC. He created the first computer game designed to help children learn how to avoid sexual predators in real life.


A founding member of the NB Amber


Alert steering committee, in 2004 Allan hosted a conference in Miramichi attended by child protection experts and law enforcement leaders throughout Canada. He met Parry when he asked her to speak on cyberbullying after discovering teens creating an online hit list and collecting weapons. They were married two years later. Together they hope to make the Miramichi region one of the safest communities in the world.


There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million. ~Walt Streightiff 6 • Bread ‘ n Molasses November/December 2010


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