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This weekend hundreds of individual accounts linked to Indigenous, environmental, and social justice organizations were suspended from Facebook because they were co-hosts of an online Facebook event last May targeting KKR & Co. Inc., the new majority funder of the Coastal GasLink pipeline which would cut through sovereign Wet’suwet’en land. Those who were unable to post were notified that the suspension would last for three days and was a result of “copyright infringement.” Dozens of accounts have yet to be reinstated and groups say Facebook has not given a satisfactory explanation.
Facebook blocked the accounts days before another online event  targeting KKR’s involvement scheduled for tomorrow. The pipeline is set to cut through sovereign Wet’suwet’en land, defiantly ignoring assertions from the hereditary chiefs of their rights, title, and consent for the project. The project would lock us into decades of increased fracked gas and the impacts to climate, air, water and the risks posed to Indigenous girls, women, and two-spirit people by man camps built along the route.
Organizations whose accounts were blocked included Climate Hawks Vote, Greenpeace USA, Presente.org, Rainforest Action Network, Rising Tide North America, Seeding Sovereignty, Stand.earth, United For Respect, Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidimt’en Territory, Wet’suwet’en Solidarity UK, and many more. The groups ask that Facebook immediately restore access to all accounts, issue a full explanation, and to commit not to bow to corporate pressure designed to silence protest.
For more background information, please review the Wet’suwet’en 101 Media Background document .
Delee Nikal, Wet’suwet’en band member of the Gitdimt’en clan from the Witset First Nation shared from Gidimt’en Checkpoint:
“We are 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. Facebook is actively suppressing those who oppose facism and the colonial capitalists. We have to remember this also shows the power that we have as a collective: Our voices were heard by KKR and it was threatened enough to take legal action. What we are doing is working. The defund actions will continue. We will continue to live on our territories as we always have and protect our territories for future generations.”
Liz Marin, Tlux’shaa’du’stee of the Eagle/Wolf Clan, Member Leader with United For Respect, Former Toys’R’Us employee said:
“While Indigenous folks are being put in harm’s way for defending our people and land we have corporations trying to silence dissent for their profit. This slippery slope needs to be stopped and those in charge held accountable. People need to know to what length big corporations are going to silence dissent. I stand with the people. Will you join us in this fight and stand in solidarity?”
Organizers with Wet’suwet’en Solidarity Team said:
“It’s not a surprise that KKR & Co is trying to suppress the attention this movement is getting. Our May 7th online rally, livestreamed on Facebook, featuring frontline camp members who spoke about state repression and corporate violence was watched by over 17,000 people! This attempt by KKR to silence us will bring even more attention to the unjust, racist and wrongful actions KKR is taking by investing in the Coastal GasLink Pipeline. The fact that Facebook simultaneously allows white supremacists to organize on its platform but immediately bans the administrators and moderators from dozens of groups due to a complaint from a corporation, shows Facebook’s true colors. Shame on Facebook AND KKR & Co! #WetsuwetenStrong #ShutDownKKR #FuckFacebook”
Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA said:
“Fossil fuel companies and their funders will use every tool in their toolbox to attempt to silence us. But they are struggling to counter the Indigenous led resistance to end our addiction to oil and gas and instead respect Indigenous sovereignty. We are fighting drawn out and expensive legal battles, laws that make righteous protest illegal, and aggressive law enforcement in response to peaceful protest. Enlisting powerful and underregulated tech giants to do their bidding and silence dissent might be the latest tool, but it is no match for our movement.”
Delee Nikal, Gidimt’en Checkpoint, Wet’suwet’en band member, (250) 961 9642
Annie Morgan, Wet’suwet’en Solidarity Team, firstname.lastname@example.org, (510) 631 4353
Valentina Stackl, Greenpeace USA, email@example.com, (734) 276 6260