Remember Pokemon Go? The augmented reality game that everyone was really into during the summer of 2016? Well, according to CNN a Russian-linked campaign may have used Pokemon Go, and the Black Lives Matter movement, to influence last year’s election.
Here’s how it worked. The Facebook page “Don’t Shoot Us,” which has since been linked to a Russian troll farm called the Internet Research Agency, asked players to go near locations of police shootings and name their Pokemon after the victim and then place that Pokemon in a Pokemon gym for everyone to see. Players who did this would then be entered in a chance to win an Amazon Gift Card. (There is no evidence of anyone winning this contest.)
As of now, it appears that the idea was that everyone seeing these names would cause conflict between those who took the side of the police and those who took the side of the deceased.
In addition to the Pokemon Go campaign, the Facebook page also shared videos of police shootings and linked back to a website called donotshoot.us. The website was registered to “Clerk York” in Illinois. However, there is no public evidence of a Clerk York living in Illinois when the website was registered in March 2016. Additionally, the address used on the registration is for a shopping mall.
The “Don’t Shoot Us” page is one of 470 pages that Facebook has suspended for being linked the Internet Research Agency. That being said, it’s hard, if not impossible, to know how effective this Pokemon Go campaign was. One tweet in particular seems to sum up people’s feelings on this.
Other people think the whole thing is a joke and they are making memes accordingly.