Navajo Times | Christopher S. Pineo
A filmmaker’s drone flies over the protest site called “Ground Zero” by water protectors opposed to the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota.
Navajo Times | Christopher S. Pineo A filmmaker’s drone flies over the protest site called “Ground Zero” by water protectors opposed to the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota.
Facebook becomes pipeline for DAPL war
By Christopher S. Pineo Navajo Times
CANNON BALL, N.D. –– As factions vie for control of digital fronts, opposition and support for the Dakota Access pipeline engage in a social media war.
Supporters of building the Dakota Access Pipeline post to social media; the opposition called “water protectors” post to social media, and a kind of “fog of war” ensues, as people do not know what is and what is not true in a situation with very little mainstream coverage.
Facebook users, particularly Native American Facebook users, reported that the social media platform seemed to be blocking their posts and censoring shares of posts with the #NoDAPL hashtag.
“Fb is deleting my posts..grr,” one user commented on a Facebook post from Red Warrior Camp dated Sept. 13.
Facebook responded to a general question about user issues as if the Navajo Times had asked about a specific post.
“The link was removed in error and restored as soon as we were able to investigate. Our team processes millions of reports each week, and we sometimes get things wrong. We’re very sorry about this mistake,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an email.
Nothing about a link being removed had been mentioned in the initial email.
The camps have a different set of issues with social media.
With a camp population estimated by an organizer to fluctuate between 5,000 and 7,000 people, social media can go out from users inside the camps in a disorganized way. With unreliable access to social media because of the rural location, social media posts and messages reach users inside the camp sporadically.
The Navajo Times sent reporters to the camps in and around the Standing Rock Sioux Nation to get the perspective on the ground.
With helicopters and small planes buzzing the Dakota Access Pipeline showdown in Standing Rock, N.D., Big Brother is probably watching.
But Little Brother is certainly watching back with camera phones, digital cameras and consumer drones.
Now, a social media expert at the camps in the Standing Rock Sioux Nation has video evidence that appears to show pipeline construction crews working on Saturday in violation of a court order.
Navajo Times | Christopher S. Pineo Myron Dewey, the Paiute/Shoshone owner of Digital Smoke Signals, uses his cell phone to update Facebook Live viewers, Sept. 17, at a construction site near Standing Rock, N.D., in real time.
A Sept. 16 U.S. Court of Appeals administrative injunction established a 20-mile zone from the shores of the Missouri River where pipeline construction was to stop.
“Upon consideration of the emergency motion for injunction pending appeal, the responses thereto, and the reply, it is ordered that Dakota Access LLC be enjoined pending further order of the court from construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline for 20 miles on both sides of the Missouri River at Lake Oahe,” the injunction said.
When word reached the main camp on Sept. 17 that reporters saw construction crews working inside that 20-mile zone, Myron Dewey jumped in his car to document evidence using his camera phone and a digital camera.
The Navajo Times rode along.
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