Facebook rolls out alerts feature for local governments

Facebook is rolling out a new feature to enable local governments and first responders to send out alerts conveying urgent information and warnings to their followers.

The company announced on Tuesday that it will be deploying the new tool later this year for local governments across the country after a months-long trial with around 350 government accounts proved successful.

Jimmy O’Keefe, a Facebook product marketing manager, told The Hill that the company started developing the tool after surveys with users showed there was a demand for community information, particularly from local governments.

“We feel like we’re at a spot where we’re confident that this is a tool that’s helpful for both first responders when they have a situation that they need people to get information about, but also for people,” he said.

Local government Facebook pages will soon be able to mark certain posts as alerts, which will amplify them on users’ feeds and register as notifications for their followers. The information will also be featured on Facebook’s new “Today In” tab.

Facebook has posted a form for local governments to fill out when the new feature is rolled out in their areas. Users will have to follow their local authorities’ official accounts in order to receive the alerts.