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Russia Reportedly Used Pokémon Go To Meddle In The Election, And The Memes — My God, The Memes

"In Russia, Pokemon catch you."

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Russia's covert meddling in the US presidential election was one of the biggest stories in 2016, and it continues to reverberate this year as congress and Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigate.

Another big story from last year? The sudden, explosive popularity of Pokémon Go, the app game that allows users to walk around outside "to catch" the digital, Japanese creatures.

So, it's only natural the two stories were going to eventually collide.

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According to CNN, Russians posing as Black Lives Matter activists used Tumblr to promote a Pokémon Go competition in July 2016 with the aim of sowing public division in the US.

Exclusive: Even Pokémon Go was used by one extensive Russian-linked meddling effort https://t.co/1b8A4T5c7A https://t.co/cqzTqNkS5t

"If you went to sites where there had been alleged incidents of police brutality," reporter Dylan Byers explained, "and you named your Pokémon after those victims, for instance naming Pikachu 'Eric Garner' — if you won that competition, this promotion suggested, you might win a free Amazon Prime card."

CNN said it had no evidence to suggest anyone actually participated in the competition, but said that by promoting the event the Russians may have been attempting to "upset or anger" people living near areas where people had been killed by police.

The CNN story came after the New York Times reported earlier this month that Kremlin-linked cyber workers promoted content on Facebook that appeared to be of American origin, but was designed to sow division on political issues, including the Black Lives Matter movement.

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To cope with the ridiculousness of Pokémon potentially playing a role in international geopolitical subterfuge, people turned to the comfort of memes.

This part of Pokemon Go always struck me as strange

Glorious, glorious memes.

Were the Pokémon out to deceive us?

@gilbertjasono holy shit i thought it was just me

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Was Pikachu complicit??

Exclusive footage of the FBI taking Pikachu in after he got caught colluding with the Russians… https://t.co/E5wojlovBA

Should he be dragged before congress to testify???

Both Clinton and Trump were given the Pokémon treatment.

Oh yeh, I totally remember when I randomly came across a Crooked Hillary while playing Pokémon Go.

So Russia used Pokemon Go to meddle in our election, and we ended up with Gumshoos as president.

Never forget, Clinton actually urged supporters during the campaign to "Pokémon Go to the polls." So, I guess it makes sense we'd end up here.

View this video on YouTube

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To sum up:

In Russia, Pokemon catch you #PokemonGo

David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.

Contact David Mack at david.mack@buzzfeed.com.

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