- Thomson Reuters
Facebook users across the US are “checking in” at Standing Rock, a Native American reservation at the heart of protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.
A post has begun circulating on Facebook asking people to check in at Standing Rock to “overwhelm and confuse” law enforcement officials.
The post says that officials are using Facebook’s check-in feature to track down protesters at Standing Rock. Users can help protect protesters, according to the post, by sharing publicly that they are at Standing Rock while making a separate post, viewable only to Facebook friends, clarifying why they are checking in at the site and prompting others to do the same:
“The Morton County Sherriff’s Department has been using Facebook check-ins to find out who is at Standing Rock in order to target them in attempts to disrupt the prayer camps. So, Water Protectors are calling on EVERYONE to check in at Standing Rock, ND to overwhelm and confuse them. This is concrete action that can protect people putting their bodies and well-beings on the line that we can do without leaving our homes. Will you join me in Standing Rock?”
As of Monday morning, there have been over 4,500 check-ins at Standing Rock, The Oregonian reported.
The veracity of the Facebook post has not yet been proven, and a number of discrepancies have come out as the post has made its rounds.
The Morton County Sheriff’s Department is not using Facebook check-ins to monitor Standing Rock protesters, a public information officer told Snopes on Monday.
The officer also said that the metric itself was not a useful tool – if police had been using Facebook’s geolocation tool to track down protesters, it’s unlikely that protesters would voluntarily check in at Standing Rock.
Representatives for the Sacred Stone Camp, one of the primary encampments for Dakota Access Pipeline protesters, told Snopes that it is not the source of the post, though the group appreciates the gesture.