The Amber Alert website is back up again after a furloughed government employee was reinstated to maintain the site. The site was offline because of the government shutdown and read "Due to the lapse in federal funding, this Office of Justice Programs website is unavailable" for the past few days.
Brian Fallon, a spokesman for the Department of Justice, tweeted, "At no point has AmberAlert system been interrupted during shutdown. to prevent confusion, informational DOJ site has been restored." He also wrote, "AmberAlert system is not down. At least 2 alerts happened over wkd. DOJ site offers info abt system but alerts get issued by states/counties."
Social media users were confused when they saw the closed website; some people thought the entire Amber Alert system was affected by the shutdown. In fact, only the Department of Justice website, which offers information about Amber Alerts, was down: Fallon stressed that the website does not actually issue alerts, which are put out by state and county agencies. The site shutdown did not affect alerts from going out through highway signs, social media and news outlets.
But the ensuing outcry was enough to prompt the Department of Justice to do some damage control and recall a furloughed employee to reopen the site. Social media users unhappy about the government shutdown were eager to point out that Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" website was still running during the outage.
Have a missing child and need an Amber Alert? Too bad. We shut it down. #HarryReidsShutdown pic.twitter.com/dfIXbsoV9j
— Jay Caruso (@JayCaruso) October 7, 2013
Of all the things to sacrifice to a government shutdown, is the Amber Alert website that unessential? http://t.co/0XmA8wJeLW
— Doctrine Man (@Doctrine_Man) October 7, 2013
Non-essential services shutdown? Can someone explain to me how http://t.co/anrf4KweoX is essential while http://t.co/EXaTOWrdTV is not?
— JΞSTΞR™ (@th3j35t3r) October 7, 2013