Standing Rock Indian Reservation: Will Using Facebook Check-In Help The Protesters?

If you have logged into Facebook over the last few days, you might have noticed something about many of your friends: they have used the check-in function to announce they are currently at Standing Rock Indian Reservation. So, what’s the deal there? And will this really help the protesters at Standing Rock?

The theory is that by using the check-in function on Facebook, you will be able to show your support for those protesters at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation who are against the construction of a $3.7 billion Dakota Access pipeline, which, as this Inquisitr article points out, could “destroy sacred tribal sites and endanger tribe’s water supply.” As The Guardian has pointed out, “hundreds have been arrested in numerous clashes with police” over this protest.

Will Facebook check-in help protesters at Standing Rock Indian Reservation?
[Image by John L. Mone/AP Images]

But there is also, apparently, a secondary reason for using Facebook check-in for Standing Rock Indian Reservation. According to the viral post about using Facebook check-in, users are urged to check into Standing Rock in order to confuse and overwhelm the Morton County Sheriff’s Department. The claim is that the sheriff’s department have been using Facebook check-in to find out who was at Standing Rock and gather intelligence on protesters from their Facebook accounts. The full Facebook post doing the rounds is below.

“The Morton County Sheriff’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?

If you’re sharing your location at Standing Stock:
1) Make it public.
2) Make the clarification post SEPARATE, and limit post visibility to your friends only.
3) Don’t clarify on your check-in post; privately message friends who say “stay safe!” to let them know what’s up.
4) Copy/paste to share clarification messages (like this one) because making it public blows our cover.
5) Use an alternate name in clarification posts so that when they filter out / search those terms, your post is visible to the right people.”

So, will using the check-in function on Facebook really help the protesters at Standing Rock Indian Reservation? And is the Morton County Sheriff’s Department really using Facebook to target protesters there?

There are several parts to the claim over whether this check-in will assist protesters at Standing Rock Indian Reserve or not. The main aspects to consider is not only will the check-in help protesters, but also whether the claim about the sheriff’s department is actually true.

So, let’s have a look at where this viral post originated from and if it will be beneficial to the protesters at Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

Standing Rock Indian Reservation, Facebook check-in
[Image by John L. Mone/AP Images]

According to Snopes, this viral post started circulating on October 31. According to the viral post, just by checking into Standing Rock, the sheer amount of numbers will be enough to confound the sheriff’s department and render their intelligence useless.

It is unclear where this viral post first originated from, but according to Snopes, they approached the Sacred Stone Camp to find out if they were the origin of the post. It is reported that a representative from the Sacred Stone Camp did clarify the rumor by saying that the sheriff’s department did “sift through social media for ‘incriminating material’ and to generally monitor the protests.” However, they insist their Facebook page was not the source of the viral post asking Facebook users to check into Standing Rock Indian Reservation. They were, however, thankful for the show of support via the check-in function.

“There is no solid line between ‘organizers’ and ‘others’ — this is a movement, not an organization. There are many camps and points of contact, we can only verify that it did not originate from the Sacred Stone Camp FB page. We support the tactic, and think it is a great way to express solidarity.”

As for whether the Morton County Sheriff’s Department uses the Facebook check-in function to gather intelligence about Standing Rock protesters, they issued the following statement via Snopes.

“The Morton County Sheriff’s Department is not and does not follow Facebook check-ins for the protest camp or any location. This claim/rumor is absolutely false.”

Both parties insisted that using the Facebook check-in function would not impede law enforcement activities.

Snopes points out that people who genuinely want to help those protesting at Standing Rock would be better off sending donations of cash or supplies rather than using a check-in post on Facebook.

Have you used the check-in function on Facebook to show your support for the protesters at Standing Rock Indian Reservation? Let us know by commenting below.

[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]