Milk Carton 2.0: Finding missing children using social media
More than 30 years after the first picture of a missing U.S. boy was placed on the back of a milk carton, Missing Children Society of Canada has revamped the idea, using social media to expand the initiative's reach.
Dubbed "Milk Carton 2.0," the program asks people to "donate" their social networks – including Facebook and Twitter – to create an online search party whenever a child is reported missing. Once a person joins, alerts are posted to that person's newsfeed, reaching everyone in their online community.
"(This) allows us the opportunity to post critical information about missing children directly on your newsfeed," Amanda Pick, executive director of Missing Children Society of Canada, told CTV's Canada AM this week.
Launched in 2012, Pick says Milk Carton 2.0 does not access a person's private information, and there haven't been any complaints about spam yet.
"If you get a post, that's because a child's life is in danger and we know all Canadians want to be a part of bringing that child home," Pick said.
Milk Carton 2.0's website, says alerts are generally posted to a person's newsfeed approximately four to five times year.
In Canada, there is more than 50,000 children reported missing every year, according to the Missing Children Society of Canada.
A recruitment drive was held Saturday at The Shops at Aura, a new Toronto mall located under the Aura condo skyscraper at the corner of Yonge and Gerrard.
Kyle Kofsky, the Ontario ambassador for Missing Children Society of Canada, says although Milk Carton 2.0 was launched over a year ago, the participation rate in Ontario is lagging.
"When I learned that Ontario had a lower end of sign-ups for this initiative, it was my mission to use my network and my resources to have people sign up," Kofksy told CTV's Canada AM.
The Shops at Aura event takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the lower level.