Social media finds missing Cranbrook boy


A recent media release put out by the Cranbrook RCMP received over 15,000 page views in a very short period of time. The police were seeking information on the whereabouts of a missing 12-year-old boy. Police turned to Facebook and Twitter to get the word out.

The release was posted on the BC RCMP media webpage just after 9 p.m., and disseminated via Twitter. The release was also posted on just one police officer’s personal Facebook page. Fourteen hours later the boy was found. By that point, the release had been shared 96 times through Social Media and viewed by over 15,000 people.

Social media played a huge part in the locating the boy. Although police learned throughout the course of their investigation that the boy was not in danger, the potential was there. That potential exists every single time a person goes missing, and police always need to act quickly.

Social media has unquestionably become the platform used to disseminate news quickly, and to a massive audience. News sources around the world use Facebook, Twitter and other venues to spark interest in their stories. Law enforcement is also now using the medium to reach out to the public. Releases about important news stories, missing persons and alerts can be sent out to a huge number of people within minutes. People are now expecting news and information instantaneously. Police have learned that over 70% of the page views for the missing boy were on mobile devices. That fact carries weight once you realize, most of those people are not at home, sitting in front of a computer. They are out and about. Essentially, they become our “eyes on the street.”

Of the 96 shares of the release on the missing boy, 90 of them were on Facebook. Shared by just one person, the information reached hundreds within mere hours.

Facebook, and other social media, have become invaluable tools when it comes to sharing information.

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