This morning, Standing Rock, North Dakota became the number one destination spot on Facebook. While FB users weren’t actually making the long, arduous trip to the Sioux reservation, they were checking in-by the thousands to show their support for those protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL.) The post began circulating this morning asking users to “check in” to Standing Rock as a way to deter the Morton County Sheriff’s Department from tracking the protesters via social media. Interaction between law enforcement and protestors at Standing Rock has been anything but peaceful, as tensions have led to violence and arrests well into the hundreds.
Demonstrators are opposed to the $3.7 billion pipeline, claiming the 1,172-foot pipe stretching from North Dakota to Illinois would put the community’s sole water supply at risk and destroy sacred and cultural Sioux land.
Environmental and Native American groups agree that even the chance of an oil spill is too great a threat to the environment surrounding the proposed pipeline.
So has this mass check-in to Standing Rock done any good? Opinions have been mixed. While no one has taken credit for the original post, it has garnered a lot of attention and given supporters a way to show their solidarity for the protest. The Morton Sheriff’s Dept. however, denies the use of social media as a way track protesters and claims the rumor that they’ve done so is, “absolutely false.”