A.I. Generated Device with the word Alert and other incomprehensible text

On February 9th, 2024, I got a Blue Alert on my cellphone. In the past, the details of the alert were typically in the message itself. However, this time I got a link to tbi.pub/alert. Upon tapping on the link, the tbi.pub/alert redirected me to a Facebook page. My phone then prompted me to download the Facebook app. After clicking no, I was then asked to login, where it appeared that I couldn’t continue without an account. I had to go through two modals just to get to an alert. If the state of Tennessee is going through the trouble of having a web server with a redirect, why not just serve the alert information themselves, instead of directing everyone to a page with a terrible user experience, and third party data tracking?

The URL does a 302 redirect to the TBInvestigation Facebook page.

❯ curl http://tbi.pub/alert -v
* Host tbi.pub:80 was resolved.
* IPv6: (none)
* IPv4:,
*   Trying
* Connected to tbi.pub ( port 80
> GET /alert HTTP/1.1
> Host: tbi.pub
> User-Agent: curl/8.5.0
> Accept: */*
< HTTP/1.1 302 Found
< Server: nginx
< Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2024 03:46:25 GMT
< Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8
< Content-Length: 127
< Cache-Control: private, max-age=90
< Content-Security-Policy: referrer always;
< Location: https://www.facebook.com/TBInvestigation
< Referrer-Policy: unsafe-url
Emergency Blue Alert on 9 February, 2024
Emergency Blue Alert on 9 February, 2024

When opening this link in Firefox mobile, I’m asked to open the Facebook page in an app. Nothing is visible on the page, only the redirect to a mobile application. If I hit cancel, I’m then asked to sign in to Facebook. I do not have a Facebook account. At first I thought this page was inaccessible, but later realized I could continue by taping on the x button to finally see a Facebook page with the alert. Talking to others, there was also conflicting information on the location of the incident, and what part of Tennessee the alert was broadcast to1.

Tapping on Alert Link Redirects to Facebook
Tapping on Alert Link Redirects to Facebook

I realize I may be in the minority, but this should be unacceptable to everyone. There is no reason for a state agency to host emergency information on a Facebook page. I understand it might make the report easier to share on social media, but this could just as easily be accomplished with links to social media from an official government page. An alert site should be maintained by the state of Tennessee, that’s easily accessible to everyone without prompts to download apps or login.

Amber Alerts

On February 27th, I received the following Amber Alert:

Amber Alert on 28 February 2024
Amber Alert on 28 February 2024

And once again, it redirected me to Facebook, with prompts to download an app, followed by a prompt to login, before I could see the alert information.

Tapping on Amber Alert Link Redirects to Facebook
Tapping on Amber Alert Link Redirects to Facebook

Emergency Alert Failure

I realize I’m in the minority of people without a Facebook account. Many people in Tennessee will click on the alert link and see the information in a form they can immediately share. Yet, it still gives Facebook tracking metrics they should not have the privilege of collecting, just because concerned residents want to do the right thing and view an alert. To me, it looks horribly lazy and a failure of whatever agency is responsible for handling these systems. It creates unnecessary friction to view basic emergency information. Knowing these links redirect to Facebook, I know I’m personally unlikely to click on them in the future.