It’s no secret that there have been efforts by Russian organizations to quietly interfere with or influence the American political climate. In the process of figuring out to what effect or extent these efforts have made, it has recently come to light that the popular mobile game, Pokemon Go , was used along the way.
According to CNN, social media accounts linked to Russia were used, in conjunction with Pokemon Go , to stir up fires in already controversial spaces to further divide and exacerbate political discourse. These accounts, spread out across platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, have all been traced back to the Internet Research Agency, an organization backed by the Russian Kremlin.
The posts were branded with “Don’t Shoot Us,” and the goal was to use the ongoing police brutality controversies in order to make black activism look bad and encourage reactions against these movements. Memes posted referenced victims of police brutality. A contest posted to Tumble encouraged Pokemon Go players to catch Pokemon at murder locations and name their Pokemon after the victims.
Niantic released a statement in response to this revelation, saying that assets were used from their games by third parties without the company’s permission.