Innovation That Matters

In Europe, project aims to add missing person info to 'Not found' pages

Nonprofit & Social Cause

The NotFound scheme is hoping to turn the web's 404 pages into a platform for alerting internet users to the continent's missing kids.

The World’s Most Valuable Social Network has already encouraged internet users to offer up space on their online profiles to help the cause of missing children in Canada. Now the NotFound project is hoping to turn the web’s 404 pages into a platform for alerting internet users to Europe’s missing people. Launched by Belgian charity Child Focus in collaboration with Missing Children Europe, the scheme encourages website owners to alter the code that is loaded when a visitor attempts to access a non-existent page on their domain. Instead it will display information about a current missing person, in place of the usual 404 error. The background of the page can be made to remain consistent with the owner’s site, except that the project’s own message is shown. This display includes a photo of the missing person, their age, the location they disappeared from and the date they went missing, as well as a note saying, for example, ‘Page not found, neither is Mathias Nasena’. Those receiving the message can use the contact details supplied if they have any information about the missing person’s whereabouts, or are otherwise encouraged to turn their own 404 pages into missing person notices. The video below further outlines the idea behind the project: At the time of writing, some 946 sites have signed up to the scheme. NotFound makes positive use of otherwise redundant online spaces and – much like the milk carton campaigns it takes inspiration from – aims to get vital information to the broad section of society that regularly uses the internet. Are there other ways charities could harness the networked nature of online spaces to get their message to as many people as possible? Spotted by: Murtaza Patel



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