Facebook has demonstrated its significance as a local communications channel after helping to reunite a missing elderly man with his relatives, despite the fact that no members of the family use the social network, according to the AFP.
Luis Matias, who is 78 and suffers from memory loss, went missing for two weeks in the Philippines after he walked out of his home, was located after a photo of his wife searching for him went viral on Facebook, raising awareness of his disappearance in the local community.
A street photography enthusiast, who goes by the name of Reddie Js, posted a picture of Matias’ wife in attempt to help with her search, after a chance encounter brought them together.
Alongside the photo, he posted contacts details for Matias’ wife and a plea for help from his Facebook friends:
I saw this old woman sitting by herself yesterday at the corner of buendia and roxas blvd yesterday. Surprised to see a bond paper pinned in front and back of her dress with a picture of a missing old man, i asked her about it and she said it is her husband who has been missing for two weeks now.
I was touched by her integrity and pained to see her looking for him in that manner so i decided to help her too. I asked permission to post her picture here in fb to be shared by others as help for finding Mr. Luis Matias.
Reddie Js’ Facebook post was shared almost 61,000 times, bringing new life and exposure to the search which got the attention of the media. Thanks to this increased awareness, he was located close to his home just two days after the post was published.
The most fascinating part of the story is that, according to Matias’ daughter’s comments to the AFP, none of the family use or are even familiar with Facebook.
We don’t even know how to use Facebook, but it was such a big help to us and we thank the person who took my mother’s picture and posted it
My mother was overjoyed. She had almost lost hope that she would ever find him again.
Earlier this week Facebook revealed how it is bringing people closer together — with the average degree of separation between users now 4.74 — and this example is proof that local communities are closely linked on the social network.