Russian-linked campaign used Pokémon Go to meddle in election

Getty Images

The mobile game app Pokémon Go was reportedly used by a Russian-linked campaign to meddle in U.S. politics.

CNN reported that a Russian-linked campaign called “Don’t Shoot Us,” likely run by Moscow-linked “troll farm” Internet Research Agency (IRA), used Pokémon Go — among several other mediums including Facebook and Twitter — and posed as a part of the Black Lives Matter movement.


The Moscow-linked actors appear to be the source of the campaign that had a goal to raise racial tensions by bringing up incidents of police brutality.

The campaign posted on its Tumblr page to urge users to play Pokémon Go as part of a contest. It encouraged users to find Pokémon in places where police brutality had happened and then to rename their Pokémon after the victims.

“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, the makers of Pokémon Go, said in a statement provided to CNN.

“It is important to note that Pokémon 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 company said.

The account’s Facebook page was removed from the site, according to CNN, after it was found to have been linked to the IRA. The Instagram and Twitter account of the campaign have also been suspended, but the group’s YouTube channel and website remain active.

The news comes after a report Wednesday said the House Intelligence Committee plans to release the Facebook ads purchased by Russian groups during the 2016 presidential election.

Facebook recently revealed Moscow purchased online ads that specifically targeted swing states such as Michigan and Wisconsin as well as particular demographic groups to influence the presidential race.

Pinterest was another social media platform revealed to have been used to spread Russia-linked political posts during the election, it acknowledged this week.

Tags Pokémon Go Russia election meddling Social media

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video