As the world begins to fully realize the extent to which the Russian government attempted to meddle in the U.S. election, new reports show a shocking connection between the Kremlin and a popular online game.
Originally, American democrats were certain that the Russians were attempting to hack our election in favor of Donald Trump. While this has so far turned out to be ostensibly false, we have discovered a great deal of evidence that Kremlin-backed agitators were hoping to sow the seeds of political unrest in our nation, even though they had no chance at literally affecting the outcome of the balloting itself.
Throughout their campaign of chaos, the Kremlin specifically targeted certain American social issues in order to create maximum impact. One of their favorite to exploit was the Black Lives Matter movement, which they believed had the potential to upturn the American apple cart, so to speak.
What is even more interesting, however, is how deep into social media the Russians were willing to go in order to push their theories. Once they exhausted their Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr ties, it seems that the Kremlin took an absurd turn toward exploiting Pokemon Go players in their campaign of confusion.
“One Russian-linked campaign posing as part of the Black Lives Matter movement used Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and Pokémon Go and even contacted some reporters in an effort to exploit racial tensions and sow discord among Americans, CNN has learned.“The campaign, titled ‘Don’t Shoot Us,’ offers new insights into how Russian agents created a broad online ecosystem where divisive political messages were reinforced across multiple platforms, amplifying a campaign that appears to have been run from one source — the shadowy, Kremlin-linked troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency.
“The donotshoot.us website in turn links to a Tumblr account. In July 2016, this Tumblr account announced a contest encouraging readers to play Pokémon Go, the augmented reality game in which users go out into the real world and use their phones to find and “train” Pokémon characters.
“Specifically, the Don’t Shoot Us contest directed readers to go to find and train Pokémon near locations where alleged incidents of police brutality had taken place. Users were instructed to give their Pokémon names corresponding with those of the victims. A post promoting the contest showed a Pokémon named “Eric Garner,” for the African-American man who died after being put in a chokehold by a New York Police Department officer.
“Winners of the contest would receive Amazon gift cards, the announcement said.”
While Pokemon Go players were annoying in their own right, clogging up popular city parks and street corners in search of mythical monsters, some may have inadvertently been committing something akin to treason while training their captured cretins.
The depths to which the Russians were willing to sink in order to disrupt American politics is an absurd new reality in our political world. The internet has made the world a much, much smaller place than it once was, putting the Russian directly on our digital doorstep.
Sarah Palin may not have literally been able to Russian from her yard, but her personal computer certainly may have.