You Too, Pikachu? Pokémon Go Part of Russia Election Mess
Oct 13 2017 by Michele Stevens
The contest invited people to visit sites of police shootings, train the digital Pokémon creatures at those spots, and name their pet creatures in the augmented world after real-world victims of police.
Virtually everything the Don't Shoot Us social media accounts (which were active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and elsewhere) published or shared was meant to stir up trouble or cause division by taking advantage of activists who had grievances with the justice system in the United States.
Russian cyber experts created a Pokemon Go game as part of their attempts to meddle with the USA election, according to an investigation by CNN. The investigation found the Kremlin-linked troll farm operated a Facebook page for a group called "Don't Shoot Us" that purported to be part of the Black Lives Matter movement. CNN's report includes a screenshot from a Tumblr page with the contest rules, which shows an image of a Pokémon that's been named Eric Garner, the African-American man whose 2014 death after being placed in a chokehold by a New York City Police Department officer was caught on film. As part of these efforts, the group encouraged its followers to make use of a feature that allows users to rename any Pokemon that they have captured. Game maker Niantic Labs told CNN that users can't actually share information in the game with each other.
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Not even Pokémon Go was safe from Russian interference during the election.
"It is important to note that Pokémon GO, as a platform, was not and can not be used to share information between users in the app so our platform was in no way being used". Read the full CNN investigation here.