Russia Reportedly Used Pokémon Go To Meddle In The Election, And The Memes — My God, The Memes
"In Russia, Pokemon catch you."
Russia's covert meddling in the US presidential election was one of the biggest stories in 2016, and it continues to reverberate this year as congress and Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigate.
Another big story from last year? The sudden, explosive popularity of Pokémon Go, the app game that allows users to walk around outside "to catch" the digital, Japanese creatures.
So, it's only natural the two stories were going to eventually collide.
According to CNN, Russians posing as Black Lives Matter activists used Tumblr to promote a Pokémon Go competition in July 2016 with the aim of sowing public division in the US.
"If you went to sites where there had been alleged incidents of police brutality," reporter Dylan Byers explained, "and you named your Pokémon after those victims, for instance naming Pikachu 'Eric Garner' — if you won that competition, this promotion suggested, you might win a free Amazon Prime card."
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.
The CNN story came after the New York Times reported earlier this month that Kremlin-linked cyber workers promoted content on Facebook that appeared to be of American origin, but was designed to sow division on political issues, including the Black Lives Matter movement.