Facebook as a Tool to Locate the Missing

One woman is hoping to use Facebook as a tool to locate her missing mom. Katheryn Desprill has issued her plea via Facebook in hopes of locating her missing birth mom. Disprill known to many as the “Burger King baby” was found 27 years ago on the floor of the Allentown Burger King. Now the young lady is reaching out via social media in hopes of finding her mother. Disprill hopes that by sharing it on social media her Mom will recognize the story and come forward. What is known, is that in the fall of 1986 workers opening a Burger King in Allentown PA., found the newborn, umbilical cord still attached, lying on a plastic bag, and wrapped in a maroon sweatshirt. While authorities searched diligently for the birth mother they were never able to locate her. Now, Deprill is married, with three sons of her own, and is seeking her. Her message reads, “Looking for my birth mother” and she goes on to say how her birth mother abandoned her when she was only hours old.

Over 14,000 people have already shared the image and the message, which Deprill hopes will reach her birth mother. This is the latest in a string of messages put out by various adopted children in hopes of locating their missing birth mothers through Facebook, tools like social media could reshape how adopted children find out about their past.

Various images have been plastered over social media for a while now requesting information about birth parents or even birth children as one man posted an image looking for his daughter, whom he said was given up for adoption without his knowledge or consent. Social media has also been helpful in getting the word out about Amber Alerts. Many users on Facebook and Twitter will share information about Amber Alerts nationwide.facebook

There is a down side to using Facebook as tool to locate missing people, and that is the amount of “fake” posts that come up. A common post that appears frequently on Facebook is the Amber Alert looking for a little girl out of Quebec. While the authorities have said that the Amber Alert is fake and issued a press release about it they are still receiving calls about the missing girl years after the first fake post showed up.

People also share Amber Alerts that have been canceled because the child was found. Without realizing that these incidents have been cleared up users will share hoping to help. Amber Alerts are not the only time that Facebook is misused with searching for missing loved ones. Like the fake Amber Alerts there are fake posters looking for missing birth parents or birth children. To make sure that these are legitimate users should look for an outside source before sharing the posts.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB), recommends that users verify the Amber Alerts are real first by checking the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which keeps a record of all Amber Alerts. BBB also suggests a quick Googling of the license plate from the amber alert will let users know whether it is a verified fake or a legitimate report. In their article dated 2012 they warn that these fake types of reports will hurt the Amber Alert process in the long run as people become more skeptical and less willing to share information. At this point using Facebook to locate missing persons, whether in Mrs. Deprill’s case or in an Amber Alert situation, is a useful tool, if users can simply cut down on the number of hoaxes they send out.

By Rachel Woodruff

Better Business Bureau
NY Daily News
Epoch Times

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