Pokemon Go, the popular smartphone game, was the target of Russian agents trying to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, CNN Money reported Thursday.
The effort was allegedly centered around a campaign called "Don't Shoot Us," an apparent reference to the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" slogan that protesters used after the 2014 shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown, the report noted.
The Moscow-linked campaign – run by the troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency – had used services like Facebook and Twitter to exploit racial tensions, the reported noted.
But one unexpected device was Pokemon Go.
According to the CNN Money report, the "Don't Shoot Us" campaign announced a contest on its Tumblr page in July 2016 for Pokemon Go players, encouraging them visit places where alleged police brutality took place — and to give their Pokemon the names of those victims.
The campaign offered players Amazon gift cards as rewards.
"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," a spokesperson for Niantic, the game developer behind Pokemon Go, said in a statement to CNN Money.
"It is important to note that Pokémon GO, as a platform, was not and 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."
Pokemon Go was only one of several popular services used by the Don't Shoot Us campaign, according to the CNN Money report; the same group had accounts on YouTube and Tumblr, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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