Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Russia Tried to Use Pokémon Go to Sew Discord in America

Russia Tried to Use Pokémon Go to Sew Discord in America

Users could visit sites where police brutality had been recorded, and were encouraged to give their Pokemon characters names of real-life victims, such as Eric Garner, who died on Staten Island.

According to a CNN report, the Internet Research Agency-Russia's online dirty tricks squad-included the smash mobile game in a wider campaign to incite hatred and racial division within America. One of the most creative (and disturbing) ways that the trolls attempted to do this was by running a contest through the Don't Shoot Us Tumblr page encouraging Pokemon Go players to hunt for Pokemon "near locations where alleged incidents of police brutality had taken place". We're asking, because Niantic is holding an in-app augmented reality photography contest for all players where Pokémon Go has been officially released.

"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.

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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.

Use the AR camera feature in the Pokémon GO application to snap a photo of a Pokémon while you're using the app. The Instagram and Twitter account of the campaign have also been suspended, but the group's YouTube channel and website remain active.

A group linked to Russian Federation allegedly used Pokemon Go to stir up trouble previous year in the United States. Read the full CNN investigation here.

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