Here’s Why Everyone On Facebook Is Checking Into Standing Rock, North Dakota

14256755_1415572071804737_1051342080_n-2By Carey Wedler

When it comes to brute force, law enforcement and private security currently have the upper hand on the ground in Standing Rock, North Dakota. They’re employing armored vehicles, riot gear, tasers, rubber bullets, pepper spray, sound cannons, and other shows of force against peaceful opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

But unlike most of the corporate media, the Internet is taking note of the struggle at Standing Rock and is trying to do its part to contribute to the protests. Over the weekend, unconfirmed reports emerged that police were using Facebook check-ins at Standing Rock to track individuals who arrived at the location to join water protectors.

As word spread of the apparent news, the Internet stepped up to neutralize the power of the police-surveillance state.

Shortly after, Facebook users from around the country and world began checking into Standing Rock, which registers as Cannon Ball, North Dakota, in an effort to confuse police. According to a statement many posters are copying and pasting:

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.

Others merely checked in while still others added their own commentary. “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor,” wrote Patrick Quinn below his check-in.

“Messing with fascists,” Luba Petrusha commented.

While the troll effort is exciting, it’s unclear whether the efforts are having an effect. According to Snopes, a self-described fact-checking blog whose conclusions are generally reliable, police claim they are not using Facebook to track protesters. Snopes reported

[a Morton County] officer explained not only that they were not using Facebook check-ins as a gauge of anything, but that the metric presented no intelligence value to them. The rumor suggested that protesters cited Facebook check-ins as a manner in which police could target them, but check-ins were voluntary — and if police were using geolocation tools based on mobile devices, remote check-ins would not confuse or overwhelm them.

Snopes also claimed it spoke to protesters within a large camp at Standing Rock who said they did not issue a call to Internet users to check in. Nevertheless, they reportedly said appreciated the show of solidarity.

Regardless of whether or not the online check-ins have any effect, the Internet has played a decisive role in the developing events in North Dakota. Livestreams have documented serious violations of free speech and the right to protest, and Facebook was accused of blocking such footage on at least one occasion. Amid the ongoing lack of mainstream coverage, the independent media has successfully drawn attention to the Standing Rock protests.

Considering the establishment has come out in full force in North Dakota, from their use of surveillance to their haphazard employment of heavily armed police, the increasing number of check-ins at Standing Rock shows just how much technology empowers people.

Even if police aren’t scouring social media and the check-ins fail to produce any tangible result, the rapid mobilization of efforts highlights a growing sense of opposition to unjust and exploitative power  — and thanks to the Internet, the world is watching.

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7 Comments on "Here’s Why Everyone On Facebook Is Checking Into Standing Rock, North Dakota"

  1. Snopes is annoying

  2. Checking in will get you listed as a domestic terrorist I bet, Biggs with Infowars got listed for attending Malheur…

  3. I never trust snopes nor our government. Why don’t those on Facebook just create a Meme that states they stand with The Tribe and make that viral. So much easier. We live in a world of smart devices with idiots at the controls.

  4. Others of your accursed race have, in years past, poisoned our peaceful
    shores. They have taught me what you are. What is your employment? To
    wander about like vagabonds from land to land, to rob the poor, to
    betray the confiding, to murder in cold blood the defenceless. No! with
    such a people I want no peace—no friendship. War, never—ending war,
    exterminating war, is all the boon I ask.

    You boast yourselves valiant, and so you may be; but my faithful
    warriors are not less brave, and this too you shall one day prove; for I
    have sworn to maintain an unsparing conflict while one white man remains
    in my borders—not only in battle, though even thus we fear not to meet
    you, but by stratagem, ambush, and midnight surprisal.

    I am kirig in my own land, and will never become the vassal of a  
    mortal like myself. Vile and pusillanimous is he who will submit to  
    the yoke of another when he may be free. As for me and my people,  
    we choose death—yes! a hundred deaths—before the loss of our .  
    liberty and the subjugation of our country. Keep on, robbers and  
    traitors: in Acuera and Apalachee we will treat you as you deserve.  
    Every captive will we quarter and hang up to the highest tree along  
    the road.

    SOURCE: Francis S. Drake. The Indian Tribes of the United States. Volume
    2. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott and Co., 1884. 34.

    I have asked some of the Great White Chiefs where they get their
    authority to say to the Indian that he shall stay in one place, while he
    sees white men going where they please. They cannot tell me.

    I only ask of the Government to be treated as all other men are treated.
    If I cannot go to my own home, let me have a home in a country where my
    people will not die so fast. I would like to go to Bitter Root Valley.
    There my people would be happy; where they are now they are dying. Three
    have died since I left my camp to come to Washington.

    When I think of our condition, my heart is heavy. I see men of my own
    race treated as outlaws and driven from country to country, or shot down
    like animals.

    I know that my race must change. We cannot hold our own with the white
    men as we are. We only ask an even chance to live as other men live. We
    ask to be recognized as men. We ask that the same law shall work alike
    on all men. If an Indian breaks the law, punish him by the law. If a
    white man breaks the law, punish him also.

    Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free
    to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow
    the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself—and
    I will obey every law or submit to the penalty.

    Whenever the white man treats the Indian as they treat each other then
    we shall have no more wars. We shall be all alike—brothers of one
    father and mother, with one sky above us and one country around us and
    one government for all. Then the Great Spirit Chief who rules above will
    smile upon this land and send rain to wash out the bloody spots made by
    brothers’ hands upon the face of the earth. For this time the Indian
    race is waiting and praying. I hope no more groans of wounded men and
    women will ever go to the ear of the Great Spirit Chief above, and that
    all people may be one people.

    SOURCE: Chief Joseph Recounts His Trip to Washington, D.C. (1879).
    Quoted in Chester Anders Fee, Chief Joseph: The Biography of a Great
    Indian (New York Wilson-Erickson, Inc., 1936), pp. 281-83.

    If they may oppress one, they may oppress all. This is why Martin Luther King Jr. stated that even if one is oppressed we are all oppressed. We all deserve love, life, freedom.

    No, I’m not naive enough to be blind to true evil existing our world/s. I am not condoning evil at all, nor suggesting nothing be done to correct it. There is justice and it can be meted out justly as is needed.

    Destroying the Earth for profit is not just, nor is using access to the resource as a weapon. The Earth’s resources are for all of us if we but use them in good stewardship.

  5. Snopes is pure propaganda. Any organization that claims to have the authority on truth, usually has neither authority nor truth.

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