Russia Apparently Tried to Use Pokemon Go for Propaganda...Poorly

Russian-linked group tried to incite racial tensions through...Pokemon Go?

A social media group claiming to be a part of the social justice movement Black Lives Matter, but was revealed to actually be linked to a Russian propaganda apparatus, apparently tried to use Pokémon Go in its social media campaign to sow divisions among users. It wasn't very well thought out.

CNN released a report today on a social media campaign called "Don't Shoot Us" which from a cursory glance appeared to be a social media group allied with social justice. However, CNN linked the group to the Russian-backed troll organization known as the Internet Research Agency, which creates fake posts on social media services like Facebook and Twitter to enflame the United States' already fraught civil divisions.

CNN seemed to suggest that the Russian troll farm was using Pokémon Go as a platform for its propaganda campaign. However the actual details paint a more crass, and less-sophisticated picture.

The fake Pokémon Go contest

The details go like this: CNN uncovered the propaganda organization's website, donotshoot.us, which linked to an affiliated Tumblr page. On July 2016, the Tumblr page held a social media contest using the game Pokemon Go. The contest was completely separate from, and held without the consent of, Pokemon Go developer Niantic.

The contest asked users to go to locations where police brutality have taken place, capture Pokemon from that location, and name their captured Pokemon after prominent figures in the Black Lives Matter movement. The winner who emailed a picture of the winning Pokemon would receive a $100 Amazon gift card.

Not only is this incredibly offensive, but the contest appears to be an attempt at purposefully trying to create divisions and also attempting to link Pokémon Go to social justice movements. It should be noted that, for some reason, the Russian government seems to detest Pokémon Go.

Niantic issued a response to CNN for its investigation saying, "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 also reiterated that Pokémon Go as a game can't directly be used as a platform to share information (or in this case, misinformation), and that the fake contest didn't directly take place within the game itself.

Earlier this year, a Russian YouTuber who filmed himself playing Pokémon Go in a church was convicted for "inciting religious hatred," and was given a three-and-a-half year suspended sentence. Meanwhile talk shows in Russia ran stories that implied Pokémon Go was some kind of mind-control service. Some pundits suggest the Russian government is fearful of Pokemon Go's ability to generate crowds in public, but for whatever reason apparently Pokémon Go is bad in Russia. This could explain why Pokémon Go was used in this particular instance of Russian propaganda.

Tagged with Android Devices, ios, mobile, News, Niantic, Pokemon.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Read this next

Pokemon Go June Field Research - Research Breakthrough, Rewards

Here's your guide to the Pokemon Go June Research quests and rewards.

Pokemon GO Raid Tips and Tricks - Legendary Pokemon Raid Bosses, Cresselia Counters

Pokemon GO Raid Bosses are a tough bunch, so bring a friend or two, and know who you're facing. Use our guide and you'll be beating them in no time!

Pokemon Go Celebi Quest - A Ripple in Time Research Steps

The time-travelling pokemon Celebi has arrived in Pokemon GO. Here’s how to get one by completing the Celebi Quest.

Pokemon Go June 2019 Community Day - Slakoth, Date, Exclusive Move, Bonuses

Here’s what you’ll begetting up to for the Pokemon Go June Community Day.

Pokemon Go Eevee - Evolving Eevee into Glaceon and Leafeon

Evolving Eevee in Pokemon Go. How to evolve your Pokemon GO Eevee into one of its five forms: Vaporeon, Flareon, Jolteon, Espeon, or Umbreon in 2019.

More News

We're Going to Learn a Lot More About DeNa's Pokemon Masters Mobile Game Later This Week

The Pokemon Company is prepping a livestream event just for Pokemon Masters.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order's Full E3 Demo Released, Shows Exploration and Crew Interactions

The longer cut gives a glimpse at how you'll tackle the story at large.

Limited Run Games is Releasing New Star Wars NES and Game Boy Cartridges and They Look Brilliant

Those old Star Wars games can be yours if you're that attached to them.

More on Android

We're Going to Learn a Lot More About DeNa's Pokemon Masters Mobile Game Later This Week

The Pokemon Company is prepping a livestream event just for Pokemon Masters.

Fortnite Beach Party Locations - How to Complete the Fortnite Beach Parties Challenges

Here's our guide to all the Fortnite beach party locations, so you can complete the new Fortnite beach parties challenge.

Fortnite 14 Days of Summer Challenges and Rewards

Here's our guide to the full Fortnite 14 Days of Summer LTM, including start date, schedule, rewards, and more.

How to Get Spell Energy in Harry Potter Wizards Unite

This is our guide to Wizards Unite spell energy, detailing how to get spell energy quickly.

Harry Potter Wizards Unite Master Notes - How to Brew All Potions in Wizards Unite

This is our guide listing out all the Harry Potter Wizards Unite potions, detailing all the potion Master Notes that you need to know.

Harry Potter Wizards Unite Everything We Know

Here's our complete overview to Harry Potter Wizards Unite, explaining what the game is, how to download it, and more.

Harry Potter Wizards Unite Add Friends - How to Use Friend Codes in Wizards Unite

This is our guide explaining how to add friends in Harry Potter Wizards Unite, using the simple friend code feature.