Russians used Pokémon Go to stir up racial tensions

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Russians used Pokémon Go to stir up racial tensions

Use the AR camera feature in the Pokémon GO application to snap a photo of a Pokémon while you're using the app.

A Russian-linked account masquerading as a Black Lives Matter activist group called Don't Shoot Us apparently had the "dual goal of galvanizing African Americans to protest and encouraging other Americans to view black activism as a rising threat", CNN reports. Players were told to change their characters' names to the victims of those incidents - an apparent effort to inflame racial tensions.

Don't Shoot Us also had accounts on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube - the latter of which had some 200 videos of footage showing alleged police brutality.

The campaign is said to be tied to agents in Russian Federation, and reportedly used services like Facebook and Twitter to exploit racial tensions in the US. "Eric Garner" - who died after being put in a chokehold by an NYPD officer - was the example given in a post promoting the contest. Users were then supposed to email the organization proof of having done so for the chance to win Amazon gift cards.

"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 told CNN. We're asking, because Niantic is holding an in-app augmented reality photography contest for all players where Pokémon Go has been officially released. But one surprise tool was Pokemon Go. "This "contest" required people to take screen shots from their phone and share over other social networks, not within our game". You never know, you can end up being that lucky victor.

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