Pokemon found himself in the midst of American politics and inciting racial discord during the election.
CNN has learned that a Russian-linked campaign posing as part of the Black Lives Matter movement, called "Don't Shoot Us," used social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram, and Pokémon Go.
It seems the innocuous creature wound up being used for nefarious deeds.
In July 2016, a Tumblr page linked to Russia's Internet Research Agency emboldened Black Lives Matter sympathizers to engage in a contest of Pokémon Go at various sites of police brutality, using the names of the victims. Winners were promised Amazon gift cards.
The "Don't Shoot Us" campaign attempted to bolster African American protests and elevate further outrage over police brutality through its various social media platforms and their own website - Donotshoot.us, which contains over 200 video clips of surveillance footage and news reports of alleged violence inflicted by authorities.
@donie @DylanByers "Don't Shoot Us" promoted a contest to find Pokémon near locations of police brutality, name Pok… https://t.co/JvFElVxBxn— Liz Stark (@Liz Stark) 1507837057.0
@stark_talk @donie @DylanByers This is just crazy. And the Dumb Masses really believed that a serious movement like… https://t.co/XNoIG3nqWh— Carrie D. Eepstate❄️ (@Carrie D. Eepstate❄️) 1507850410.0
We will not let Pokemon come between us.
I remember the halcyon days when the Russian government alleged that Pokemon go was a CIA plot. #memories https://t.co/UWDNMeRU7f— Julia Ioffe (@Julia Ioffe) 1507836604.0
There is no evidence of contestants actually playing the game, nor of information on prizes given.
Pokemon Go developer Niantic told CNN, "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."
"It is important to note that Pokemon GO, as a platform, was not and cannot be used to share information between users in the app so our platform was in no way being used. This 'contest' required people to take screen shots from their phone and share over other social networks, not within our game. Niantic will consider our response as we learn more."
The campaign's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts have been suspended according to CNN; however, the group's website and YouTube page remain active.
So let me get this straight. 🇷🇺 influenced our election by making a Pokémon GO game on behalf of #BLM & no one pl… https://t.co/kMv1HfC1FN— candylotus 🇺🇸 (@candylotus 🇺🇸) 1507840576.0
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