A new report from CNN claims that a supposed Russian-ran organization known as Internet Research Agency is purportedly linked to Pokemon Go, and that the game was used to incite racial tensions by pretending to be affiliate with Black Lives Matter.
The report was published on October 12th, 2017 and has no evidence to back up the claims.
CNN alleges that Russians tried to use Pokemon Go to get people involved with a “Don’t Shoot Us” contest linked to Black Lives Matter, writing…
“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.”
The link between DoNotShoot.Us and Pokemon Go are absurdly tenuous given that the alleged contest was posted up on the DoNotShoot.Us Tumblr page.
CNN making this discovery revealed that they may have been the only ones to have discovered the page, as they could find no evidence that anyone had even participated in the contest, writing…
“CNN has not found any evidence that any Pokémon Go users attempted to enter the contest, or whether any of the Amazon Gift Cards that were promised were ever awarded — or, indeed, whether the people who designed the contest ever had any intention of awarding the prizes. “
Questions should be raised if CNN may have created the page themselves and then “discovered” it simply to report on it. So far, there is no evidence that it was actually Russians who made the page or any evidence debunking that perhaps it may have been a false flag created by the media.
Regardless of what CNN is reporting or what they may be implicating regarding Russians, Niantic Labs — the creators of Pokemon Go — issued the media outlet a statement, making it known that they had no affiliation or knowledge about this particular contest, saying…
“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,”
“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. Niantic will consider our response as we learn more.”
Given the lack of evidence surrounding any ties to Russians, and the fact that CNN was unable to get verification from Tumblr about who actually operates the page, it’s safe to say that the news regarding Russians having ties to Pokemon Go should be wholly disregarded until more reputable reports with irrefutable evidence is presented.
Keep in mind this is also a story from a news organization where one of their own pundits claimed the Russia story was a “nothing burger”, and one of their own producers admitted that there was no strong evidence supporting the Russian narrative.
(Main image courtesy of Jason O. Gilbert)