Russia's far-ranging campaign to promote dissension in the United States reportedly included a effort to weaponize Pokémon Go . CNN reported today that in July 2016, a Tumblr page linked to Russia's now-notorious Internet Research Agency promoted a competition encouraging people to befriend the Black Lives Matter movement to play the game near popular sites of police brutality Players were told their characters' names to the victims of those incidents – an apparent attempt to inflame racial tensions.
The Tumblr page was linked to Do Not Shoot Us, a multi-platform campaign designed for mimic aspects of Black Lives matter. (As CNN notes, the name plays on "hands up, do not shoot," one of the movement's slogans.) Do Not Shoot Us Include a Website, donotshoot.us, along with related pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube The Facebook page was one of 470 pages that were removed after the company determined that it was linked to Russian groups in attempt to interfere in US politics.
According to CNN, the group's Tumblr page included a post showing a pokemon named "Eric Garner," who died after being put in a chokehold by a New York Police Department officer. The post promoted a contest, which promised Amazon gift cards to the winners, according to the report. CNN could not find evidence that anyone actually participated in the contest, it said, or that page had distributed the gift cards.
The Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts of the group have been suspended, CNN said. Its YouTube and Tumblr pages, though, remain active – though the Tumblr page has shifted to posts about Palestine.