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
The Don’t Shoot Us campaign – the title of which may have referenced the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” slogan that became popular in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown – used these platforms to highlight incidents of alleged police brutality
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.
In June 2016, someone using the Gmail address that had been posted as part of the Pokémon Go contest promotion reached out to Brandon Weigel, an editor at Baltimore City Paper, to promote a protest at a courthouse where one of the officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray was due to appear.
The email made Weigel suspicious. “City Paper editors and reporters are familiar with many of the activist groups doing work in Baltimore, so it was strange to receive an email from an outside group trying to start a protest outside the courthouse,” Weigel told CNN.
However, when CNN examined the document metadata, “Название,” the Russian word for “name,” was part of the document properties.
Two cybersecurity experts who reviewed the document’s metadata told CNN that it was likely created on a computer or a program running Russian as its primary language.
I promise this is not pulled from the Onion.