Facebook activists are trying to confuse cops at Standing Rock

Even if they’re thousands of miles away, scores of Facebook users are trying to help Dakota Access pipeline protesters at Standing Rock in North Dakota.

Rumors have spread online that the county sheriff is using Facebook check-ins to target protesters at Standing Rock.

We don’t know if it’s true, but the internet is convinced it is.

So to throw off cops, the plan is for Facebook users to make a public post saying you’re at Standing Rock with the goal of overwhelming police with check-ins.

Then, users are told to make a private post explaining why they’re “checked in” at North Dakota even if they’re really in Boston or Seattle or Lubbock, Texas. It’s also crucial that the private post uses the “Randing Stock” spoonerism in further attempts to thwart anyone trying to surveil protesters online.

Here’s an example of one of the standard private posts being shared:

A sample Facebook post

Law enforcement arrested well over 100 people last week, saying they were on private land owned by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, which is trying to build the oil pipeline.

• More from MPR: Standing Rock protesters with connections to Wounded Knee on why they’re there

But the protesters say the land in question doesn’t belong to the company, citing an 1851 treaty signed by the federal government and several tribes.

“We have never ceded this land. If Dakota Access Pipeline can go through and claim eminent domain on landowners and Native peoples on their own land, then we as sovereign nations can then declare eminent domain on our own aboriginal homeland,” Joye Braun of the Indigenous Environmental Network said in a prepared statement, according to a Reuters report.

  • Alex

    Of course the problem with everybody saying “Randing Stock” is that now the word is out and everybody knows what to look for…

  • kat

    Well, yes people are checking in- but more because it continues to draw attention to the cause. Standing in solidarity more than just confusing surveylence

    • Mike Worcester

      Which is precisely why many of my FB pals are doing just that. Showing solidarity. It may seem like a trite gesture to some, but it still shows support.

  • Dan

    Sounds like a variation on the “Facebook will own all your posts unless you copy and paste the following into your status…” hoax that won’t die.

    • kat

      not really- it helps the cause to get people talking. one of the big problems for the Water Protectors is lack of media attention and the political attention that follows

      • Dan

        Right, this cause is just starved of publicity.
        The converted playing tricks on each other will “get people talking”, maybe slightly more than, “hey what about that pipeline thing”. End result is approximately the same as the original hoax.

        • kat

          no tricks- sure, some people think they are confusing the police, but the end result is not a hoax- it is new stories and words of support sent out to those on the front lines

          • Dan

            People think they’re confusing the police because that’s what they’re being told. Regardless of whether it’s giving “Facebook activists” the warm fuzzies, it’s a trick, because it’s not true. So… I guess, Happy Halloween.

          • Veronica

            I and many others posting the same thing aren’t stupid. See above.

          • Dan

            “Some of us aren’t fooled but do it anyway” isn’t really a refutation. And I don’t think I called anyone stupid.

  • Dan

    Here’s another way to determine if it’s a hoax, even quicker than by checking Snopes.

    Did someone ask you to share or post something on your Facebook status, that would result in anything other than your status being updated? Yes? Then it’s a hoax.

    Yes, this goes for winning free “Delta Air” vacations BTW.

  • Dan

    Lol, sorry, even though my reply was to your post, my snark was aimed at the internet in general and facebook users in particular, not you.

  • kat

    again, it doesn’t matter if the police are looking at it or not- lots of people are seeing the check ins on facebook and spending a minute or 2 thinking about the issue. also it is generating news stories and posts such as this one

  • Veronica

    Posted it late last night. I knew it was going to draw scorn, but I really don’t care. It’s one of many ways to show solidarity and support. Im really tired of people tearing each other apart for little things.