People 'Checking In' to Pipeline Protest in Droves on Facebook

To confuse law enforcement—but cops insist they're not tracking protesters on social media
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2016 2:20 PM CDT
People 'Checking In' to Pipeline Protest in Droves on Facebook
Members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians don slogans opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline on Saturday in Bismarck, ND.   (AP Photo/John L. Mone)

Dakota Access Pipeline protesters continue to face down law enforcement in North Dakota—and now they're trying to use social media to confuse the police, the Daily Dot reports. On a Facebook page labeled as an unofficial account for the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, the feed is filled with people "checking in" to the protest to "overwhelm and confuse" the cops. It's a move that's apparently been encouraged by a viral message going around that the Morton County Sheriff's Department is scouring the check-ins to track protesters, the Los Angeles Times reports.

But the sheriff's department is rebutting that story. In a Monday Facebook post, the department notes it "is not and does not follow Facebook check-ins for the protest camp or any location. This claim/rumor is absolutely false." And Snopes notes that even if that were the case, remote check-ins likely wouldn't confound cops using geolocation tools on mobile devices. The official Sacred Stone Camp also told Snopes that although it appreciates the solidarity and encourages the check-ins, it's not the one that started the quickly spreading meme. (More than $1 million has been raised to help the protesters.)

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