CNN broke the news Thursday that the “Don’t Shoot Us” campaign against police brutality was a disinformation scheme hatched by Russia, possibly to make the Black Live Matter movement look bad and sow more racial discord in the US leading up to the 2016 Presidential Election. Even stranger, that meddling effort involved a promotion centered around the inexplicably popular app Pokemon Go, a game that is basically a “trading rats for candy” simulator. To summarize, Russian agents may have used Pokemon Go to try to somehow inflame racial hatred or resentment, because we are truly living in the stupidest of all timelines.
As for the dumb, dumb, so-very-dumb Russian meddling scheme, it doesn’t seem to have accomplished much. They ran a contest promising Amazon gift cards to Pokemon players who caught pokemonsters near locations of alleged police brutality, named the pokemonster after the victim, and sent them a screencap. Niantic, makers of Pokemon Go, have pointed out that the game “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.”
Pity the poor intern who has to write that press release.
The initial reaction to CNN’s reporting comprised of several tweets like this one:
Or this spin on an old gag: