Leave it to the Russians to make Pokémon political.
An investigation by CNN found that a Russian-linked account used Pokémon Go to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in what appeared to be an attempt to stoke racial tensions among its users.
The account operated under the campaign name “Don’t Shoot Us,” a false affiliation with the Black Lives Matter movement. It reportedly exploited other social media platforms like Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram as well, and an anonymous source confirmed to CNN that the account was one of the 470 Facebook admitted were linked to the infamous Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency.
The “Don’t Shoot Us” account created a contest on Pokémon Go for players to find Pokémon in locations where police brutality had allegedly occurred and encouraged the users to name their Pokémon after victims, according to CNN.
The makers of Pokémon Go, Niantic, responded to the allegations in a statement saying, “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 will consider our response as we learn more,” the company added.