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There Are Cops on Your Facebook (yes, even in Hamilton) — “Sam Brown” is one of them


This shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Police have a long history of creating and using fake social media accounts to track people, pages and events. The kicker? You don’t have to be masking up at demos or occupying oil facilities to earn their attentions. Just as much as they’ll lay charges if the opportunity presents itself, police exist on social media to glean more subtle information from political dissidents of all stripes and their pals – things like our personal networks, politics, current gossip, and moods.

With this information, police can more easily work out who’s organizing, who their friends and families are, and possibly even things like who to approach as an informant or where to place or start undercovers – on top of a slew of other things.

In other words: police are on there to capture the very essence of facebook, and their presence puts all of us at risk. No exceptions.

Now let’s talk specifics. Or one specific.


“Sam Brown” is a police profile that has been tracking and documenting people, groups, pages and events in and around Hamilton, ON.

We can’t tell you how we know, but we can tell you that this is firsthand information from police. We can tell you that photographic evidence exists, but providing it would present unnecessary risk to others.

We can also tell you how, like the sexist, abusive and exploitive creatures they are, police chose to use a sexualized photo of a young woman to misrepresent themselves.

We also want to talk about how this profile – and knowing about it – is fairly insignificant overall. The police are bound to already have, or be able to create, others. Removing “Sam” will not eliminate risk because “Sam” is not the only police-run account – on facebook or any other social media platform. The cops are all over the internet – and they’re being paid well to be there. Even here in Hamilton, and even at this very basic level.

This isn’t said to induce paralyzing reactive fear, it’s said to point out a reality; Eliminating or reducing risk isn’t just a matter of deleting one person from our friends list – it’s a matter of re-evaluating how we [individually and collectively] interact with social-media platforms.

Bottom line? If you wouldn’t sit down and talk about it with, or hand it over to, a cop then don’t put it online. Learn the needed skills to actively practise anonymity – online and in person – and make space for it in your own lives and events.

And for fuck’s sake; don’t be that asshole who gives them what they need to charge, isolate, or repress someone else.

Groups Being Followed by “Sam Brown”

Dam line 9 [direct action against pipelines]
Against Enbridge in Ontario United
Revolutionary Student Movement – Hamilton
Food Not Bombs Hamilton
The Hacker News
Direct Action Everywhere
CUPE 4400
Network for the Elimination of Police Violence [Against Austerity Campaign]
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
Young Communist League Hamilton
Hamilton/Halton Animal Liberation Team
Flamingo Mutiny Brigade [rad marching band]
Activism Hamilton
The Peoples Platform
Hamilton Coalition Against Poverty
The Tower [Anarchist Social Space]
Occupy Brampton

Events Recently Followed By “Sam Brown”

Hamilton2Paris Climate Rally
Against Capitalism Contingent for H2P
May Day 2015
International Day Against Police Brutality (M15)
Black Lives Matter Rallying Cry

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