“404 Page not found.”
Any time you click on a broken link or mistype an address, you are likely to see that message. Could this annoying fact of Internet life be somehow put to good use? Two European child-safety organizations and a Belgian newsmagazine believe so.
On Sept. 25, Missing Children Europe, Child Focus (in Belgium) and advertising agency Famous unveiled Notfound.org, urging volunteers to “Make better use of your 404-page.”
A 90-second video clip, originally uploaded to Vimeo by “Famous Brussels” and also featured prominently on Notfound.org, has a subtext explaining:
“Across the European Union, thousands of children go missing every year. Thanks to the NotFound project, you can make a difference. Install our application and a picture of a missing child automatically gets published on every ‘page not found’ of your website. Together, we can find them.”
The video is alternately narrated by Delphine Moralis, the Deputy Secretary General for Missing Children Europe; and Miguel Torres Garcia, Chief Officer Missing Children for Child Focus.
Thousands of children who go missing across the European Union each year, explained Moralis. These include runaways who deliberately leave home, children abducted by non-custodial parents or relatives, and those abducted by strangers.
Garcia mentioned other social media Child Focus uses to publicize European missing-children photos, including a Twitter feed and Facebook account. Both are primarily in French and Dutch despite the English-language name of the organization.
404 pages may be an annoyance to the users who stumble upon them, but in the video, Garcia said he thinks they could be life saving.
“Publishing photos of a missing child is the most effective way to find them back,” he said.
Photo via Vimeo