Is the Standing Rock Facebook Check-In Real or Fake?

standing rock facebook check in, standing rock facebook check in hoax

A demonstrator holds up a placard in front of the White House in Washington, DC, September 13, 2016, as he an others gather to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

A call for Facebook users to “check-in” at Standing Rock, North Dakota in order to confuse the Morton County Sheriff’s Department with fake geotargets allegedly aims to help Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protesters. Is it real or fake?

Snopes, a “website covering urban legends, Internet rumors, e-mail forwards, and other stories of unknown or questionable origin” investigated this morning. They have updated their findings to be an ambiguous “Unproven.”

However, “real” or not, thousands of people across the globe are now participating to show their solidarity with the people of Standing Rock. As of this morning, nearly 130,000 Facebook users have “checked in” there. It is unknown what the number started at, but a 2000 census put the population at less than 10,000.

The official Facebook page of the Standing Rock Sioux has not commented on the call to action when Facebook users began to check into Standing Rock in Cannon Ball, North Dakota this morning.

standing rock facebook check in, standing rock facebook check in hoax


The check-in is usually accompanied by a claim stating that the Morton County Sheriff’s Department is using Facebook check-ins for geotargeting protesters. The most common text reads:

“The Morton County Sherriff’s Department has been using Facebook check-ins to find out who is at Randing Stock 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 Randing Stock (which you should be doing)
1) make it public
2) make the clarification post separate, and so that only your friends can see it
3) don’t clarify on your check in, message friends who say “stay safe!” to let them know what’s up — the stay safe posts are more convincing / confusing for p*lice
4) copy paste to share clarification messages (like this one) because making it public blows our cover
5) say “Randing Stock” in clarification posts so that when they filter out / search those terms, your post is visible to the right people”

The viral social media movement follows the ongoing protests in North Dakota. Standing Rock Sioux are currently protesting the extension of the DAPL. NPR reports that “Energy Transfer Partners is trying to build a $3.8 billion pipeline to shuttle more than 500,000 barrels of oil a day across four states.” NBC adds that the 1,172-mile pipeline “would offer the fastest route to bring Bakken shale oil from North Dakota to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries” but would not only pass through the only source of potable water for the Standing Rock Sioux nation, but would also violate several of their sacred sites.

The months-long protest made headlines this past weekend when The Los Angeles Times reported that arrested protesters were marked with numbers and kept in dog kennels. Advocates of the Native American cause likened the numbering of people with markers and their inhumane imprisonment to how Jewish people were treated during Nazi Germany.


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“Real” or not, thousands around the globe are doing it just to show solidarity or support for the Standing Rock people.

mike natale

According to the Rome statute of the IOC’s code of conduct, it is illegal to deceive law enforcement authorities in regards to your whereabouts using online media and or geolocation. This is punishable by up to a $500 fine and/or 6 months in a PMITA classified prison.


I think you would have to prove that the deceit was intentional. As @tamaresque said, most people are doing it to show support.


You mean the ICC (International Criminal Court) instead of the IOC (International Olympics Committee), correct?


Hey rejectoid, I think you mean the ICC (international Criminal Court). I don’t think the Hague has the mandate, jurisdiction or will to give 2 shits about what private citizens post on Facebook. You do realize what the task of the ICC is? “… is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that sits in The Hague in the Netherlands. The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The ICC is intended to complement existing national judicial systems and it may therefore only exercise its jurisdiction when certain conditions are met, such as when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals…” There you go braniac.

hercules mulligan

First of all, the IOC is the Code of Ethics for the International Olympic Committee.
I assume you meant the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which applies to war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity, primarily across national boundaries. I don’t think the ICC gives a shit about Americans checking in to a Native American reservation on Facebook. Even if they did, the United States is not a signatory nation with legal obligations under the ICC.
Research! It’s neat!


Haha. I’m sure the United Nations is going to invade US jurisdiction and extradite a US citizen to get involved in a US citizen’s geotagging of themselves elsewhere within the US.


The larger problem is that everyone checking in believe they’ve done something substantial instead of sending supplies contributing money etc. There’s no value in the post and it takes attention away from the actual aid sites.

Carolina Elizabeth Price

I made a point to also publish addresses, go fund me pages, and leader’s phone numbers so that people can take action

JD Shazer

best as i can tell, it originated with Unicron Riot’s call to action on twitter, i was among 4 at that point to check in, then hour or so later, several hundred.
I THINK as best as i could research, its a misreading of the National Lawyers guild FOIS request earlier this week

Andrew Workman

I support the Standing Rock Sioux protest, but the Facebook check-ins fooled me into believing there was real commitment to the cause by a number of friends and my opinion sunk when I found this was no different then electronically signing a petition.

Jason Sulliman

It might just be signing a petition and it might not seem like much, but it does bring traffic to the cause (the more publicity and pressure that can be applied, the more politicians will be willing to ‘evolve’ their stance on the issue). More publicity can help people gain awareness (because even though your feed might give you the impression that ‘everyone’ knows, many people still don’t really know what is going on there), and it can create momentum. Another example is the ice bucket challenge- it started as what seemed to be a meaningless video post, but the amount of money generated for the cause was considerable. It started small, but as people became more aware of the significance (through ‘free market mentality of increased traffic) more people got involved. If you care about doing something, I would consider it a good first step.


It’s false. Of course it’s false. At level of education do you have to drop out of to believe this would actually work?

A) The actual tribe people are checking in at is several miles from the pipeline construction – so police wouldn’t be anywhere near that area anyways.

B) The width of the pipeline right-of-way is only about 200 feet and pictures have shown it’s a field with no trees. Why would the police check Facebook when they can just look up and see who’s blocking the right-of-way?

C) If your friend checks into Wal-Mart, can you go right to where they’re standing? Of course not – so why would the police even bother using such an app to look for people, IF #2 didn’t apply?

Kweevin Kajuhara-Ha

Lets all pray with a positive affirmation that this injustice can soon be stopped. No violence is needed to strike back. The power of thoughts is enough to be heard by the Universe, the Great Spirit and Mother Earth.
Go to all corners of the Land you want to protect and say this prayer:
“Beloved Creator and Mother Earth, please hear our prayer for this Land we are taking care of.
May we always have clean water for all beings who are thirsty.
May all animals and people find refuge here when ever they are in need.
Everyone who needs refuge here is happy, healthy and never gets hurt.
No one can ever take this Land from us or can enter it with malicious intentions!”
Maori Prayer inspired by Drunvalo Melchizedek

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