The Geotagging Counterpublic: The Case of Facebook Remote Check-Ins to Standing Rock

Jeeyun Baik


This article suggests a concept of geotagging counterpublics, by conducting a case study on Facebook check-in posts generated in fall 2016 through which the users geotagged themselves to Standing Rock Indian Reservation from remote places. Examining the Facebook remote check-in posts, the study identifies 5 major themes: solidarity, obfuscation, education on geotagging, education on privacy setting, and doubts and debunking. The users believed that their collective check-ins would support protesters fighting against an oil pipeline construction in Dakota and that the remote check-ins would obfuscate the Facebook geolocation data allegedly monitored by the police. The users educated each other on the right geotagging practices and the privacy setting of the posts. Yet there also arose doubts about the effectiveness of remote geotagging. The article discusses the potential of check-ins in forming a geotagging counterpublic, and the importance of understanding geolocation data in the context of online activism and data surveillance.


online activism, surveillance, geolocation data, obfuscation, counterpublic

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