FB's Aust local public alert tool expanded

·1-min read

State-based health, law enforcement and government agencies are now able to issue localised alerts to their residents using social media platform Facebook.

The social media giant's "Local Alerts" section was already providing warnings to users from Australian fire and emergency service agencies, such as advice on nearby bushfires.

This tool will from Tuesday be expanded for Australian users to state-based health agencies, police and government bodies.

As a result, these agencies can share localised information to individual Facebook users on COVID-19 outbreaks or advice, or public notices on missing people from the nearby area.

Facebook said Australia was the second country in the world to have access to the Local Alerts tool.

It also said posts marked as "local alerts" in the United States were viewed three-and-a-half times more than typical Facebook posts by public agencies.

"We hope this feature will be another important communication tool for health, police and central government agencies to share updates to people about critical events happening in their local area," Facebook Australia public policy head Josh Machin said in a statement.

Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said in a statement that the force would use the tool to issue real-time alerts and warnings to members of the community who use Facebook.

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