Facebook blocks dozens of accounts just days ahead of anti-pipeline social media campaign

Dozens of Facebook accounts were blocked ahead of a scheduled social media campaign against the Coastal GasLink project, in support of the Wet’suwet’en tribe in Canada

September 21, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Credit : Social media

Between September 19 and 20, Facebook blocked dozens of accounts linked as co-hosts on an events page of an upcoming online campaign against an investor of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project, activists said. The event was to target the US-based investment group, KKR and Co., which became a majority funder of the CAD 6.6 billion (around USD 5 billion) pipeline project set to traverse through indigenous Wet’suwet’en land.

Pages of more than a dozen indigenous and environmental organizations were reportedly targeted by Facebook, along with accounts of many individuals, activists said. All the accounts, put through a three-day suspension, were either listed as hosts or were associated in other ways with the organizing of a social media blitzkrieg event scheduled for Monday, September 21.

According to Greenpeace USA, whose page was among the ones that were blocked, Facebook notified them of a three-day suspension in response to a supposed “copyright infringement.” Many others were reported to have been blocked without a proper explanation from the social media platform.

Apart from the page Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidimt’en Territory, the group that has been the primary organizer for the indigenous struggle against the pipeline, other pages which were blocked include Wet’suwet’en Solidarity UK, Climate Hawks Vote, Presente.org, Rainforest Action Network, Rising Tide North America, Seeding Sovereignty, Stand.earth and United For Respect among others.

These groups previously extended their support for the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs’ decade old battle against the pipeline project too. The September 21 event was to target KKR and Co. with a communications blockade by flooding their New York office with calls and emails, along with a social media campaign on Twitter and other platforms. The investment group acquired 65% of the stakes in the pipeline project in December 2019.

Delee Nikaal of Gidimt’en Checkpoint and a Wet’suwet’en clan member, said that the organizers were “not surprised by the actions that Facebook has taken. This once again exposes the white supremacy inherent in the system. Videos of extreme violence, alt-right views and calls for violence by militias in Kenosha, Wisconsin, are allowed to persist on Facebook. Yet, we are banned and receive threats for permanent removal, for posting an online petition.”