Russian-linked campaign used Pokemon Go to meddle in election


Russian-linked campaign used Pokemon Go to meddle in election

Russian cyber experts created a Pokemon Go game as part of their attempts to meddle with the United States election, according to an investigation by CNN.

The group "Don't Shoot Us" followed a now-familiar pattern of embracing politically divisive causes in order to help spark societal turmoil in the U.S. Facebook had said it found 470 fake accounts with Russian backers that spread messages on all manner of topics, from immigration to gun control, anything that might drive a wedge in the American fabric. This led to the discovery that the same groups also spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads on Google and YouTube, and maintained some 200 accounts on Twitter. CNN uncovered YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter pages for Don't Shoot Us as well. 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. 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. If Pokemon Go players completed those two tasks, they could send a screenshot to an email in return for supposed prizes, including Amazon gift cards.

CNN said it had no evidence to suggest anyone actually participated in the competition, but said that by promoting the event the Russians may have been attempting to "upset or anger" people living near areas where people had been killed by police. Then you'll be thrilled to know that Niantic just launched a fun Pokémon Go AR Contest which challenges trainers to snap epic AR phones while trying to catch Pokémons in stunning locations.

"It's clear from the images shared with us by CNN that our game assets were appropriated and misused in promotions by third parties without our permission", Niantic told CNN.