No, your Facebook check-in at Standing Rock won't confuse police targeting Dakota pipeline protesters

Dakota Access Pipeline protesters.
(Image credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

A viral Facebook campaign encouraging users to check in to Standing Rock Indian Reservation in order to confuse or throw off the Morton County Sheriff Department's alleged attempts to geotarget Dakota Access Pipeline protesters is likely nothing more than a hoax, Snopes reports:

We contacted the department about the rumor, and an 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.We also contacted Sacred Stone Camp to determine whether they were the source of the social media plea. A representative clarified the rumor, telling us that police do sift through social media for "incriminating material" (not whether or not they were at the site, however) and to generally monitor the protests. They told us that the group appreciated the gesture of solidarity, but that the message did not originate with their camp. [Snopes]

The Morton County Sheriff's Department posted a similar statement Monday afternoon:

Alternative forms of supporting the pipeline protests exist, such as donating to Sacred Stone's fund for paying legal defense fees here, or by sending physical donations to the Sioux Tribe by following directions here.

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Jeva Lange

Jeva Lange was the executive editor at She formerly served as The Week's deputy editor and culture critic. She is also a contributor to Screen Slate, and her writing has appeared in The New York Daily News, The Awl, Vice, and Gothamist, among other publications. Jeva lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.