Here's why Facebook users across the US are 'checking in' at the Standing Rock protest

Facebook users across the US are “checking in” at Standing Rock, a Native American reservation at the heart of protests against the Dakota Access pipeline. 

Over the last several days, a post began circulating on Facebook asking people to “check in” at Standing Rock in order to “overwhelm and confuse” law enforcement officials.

The post alleges that officials are using Facebook’s “check-in” feature to track down protesters at Standing Rock. Users can help protect protesters, the post says, by sharing publicly that they are at Standing Rock, while making a separate post, viewable only to Facebook friends, clarifying why they are checking in at the site. 

As of Monday morning, there have been over 4,500 check-ins at Standing Rock, The Oregonian reported.

The veracity of the Facebook post has not yet been proven, and there are a number of discrepancies that have come out as the post has been making its rounds.

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department says it is not using Facebook check-ins to monitor Standing Rock protesters, a public information officer told Snopes on Monday.

The officer also said that the metric itself was not a useful tool — if police had been using Facebook’s geolocation tool to track down protesters, it’s unlikely that protesters would risk checking in at Standing Rock, since it’s a voluntary feature. 

Representatives for the Sacred Stone Camp, one of the primary encampments for Dakota Access protesters, told Snopes that it is not the source of the post, though the group appreciates the gesture. 

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