Even a kids' AR game was apparently in on the Russian plot. To enter the contest, players will have to take and submit between one and three photos that contain a cleverly placed augmented reality Pokémon.
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 created to sow division on political issues, including the Black Lives Matter movement.
Here's how the augmented reality children's game got dragged into USA politics and how it was connected to the rest of the misinformation on social media: A group called "Don't Shoot Us" was started to promote racial justice issues such as standing against police brutality. The Facebook page was one of 470 pages that were removed after the company determined that it was linked to Russian groups attempting to interfere in USA politics.
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Starting today, the Pokemon GO team is starting an AR photo contest that will challenge Pokemon trainers everywhere to snap the best AR photos of Pokemon. Similar activities were uncovered on YouTube, and now clearly Tumblr.
Virtually everything the Don't Shoot Us social media accounts (which were active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and elsewhere) published or shared was meant to stir up trouble or cause division by taking advantage of activists who had grievances with the justice system in the United States. CNN could not find evidence that anyone actually participated in the contest, it said, or that the page had distributed the gift cards.
Congress and a special investigator are looking into Russian activity during the US election, and how Russians used the internet to wage perhaps the most successful disinformation campaign in history.