It is an expansion of the Child Rescue Ireland programme

Irish Facebook users will now be alerted in emergency missing-child cases.

Child Rescue Ireland (CRI) is a system used by gardaí when they believe a person under 18 has been abducted and is in serious and imminent danger.

The force has now teamed up with the social network giant to reach a wider audience quicker.

It will include a picture of the child and any other details that may help find them - such as a photo, hair colour and clothes.

Other details - such as a description of a vehicle - will also feature where appropriate.

Facebook users will be able to share the alert with their friends.

Currently, information is broadcast through several media - including radio, television, internet and electronic road signs.

This expansion will include distribution through Facebook's newsfeed.

How the alerts will appear on Facebook | Image: Supplied to

The decision to declare a CRI Alert is made by An Garda Siochána when investigating abductions.

Once gardaí have been notified about an abducted child, they will determine if the case meets their CRI Alert criteria.

Gardaí will then notify Facebook's security team, which operates on a 24/7 basis, that a verified CRI Alert is active.

Facebook will then send the alert to the newsfeeds of people in Ireland as quickly as possible.

Director of Trust and Safety at Facebook is Emily Vacher.

"When a child goes missing every single minute matters in getting that child home safely.

"Everybody walks around now with their cellphones in their hands, and when a child goes missing, we'll share that information".

"So when you're online at a grocery store or you're at a bus stop, you have your phone in your hand - if a child has gone missing near you you'll see that information, and maybe you've seen something that can contribute to bringing that child home safely".