Earlier this month, we reported that Niantic was permanently banning players who were found using bots and GPS-altering programs. However, some players that were legitimately leveling up were doing so quickly enough to seem suspicious to the developer, and got banned anyway. With this in mind, Niantic has come forward saying that it has begun unbanning some accounts that were inadvertently creating problems without meaning to.
Niantic says it was banning accounts that were using “add-on map apps,” such as PokéVision, which was a real-time tool for finding Pokémon more easily. However, some users were confused about their ban.
“Some players may not have realized that some add-on map apps do more than just show you nearby Pokémon,” Niantic writes in a statement.
Because each of these apps can be used as a data collection tool, information can be acquired and forwarded to the app creator without the user’s knowledge. “These apps can have an effect similar to DDoS attacks on our servers,” Niantic writes.
“Because of this we have had to ban some accounts associated with using these add-on map tools, leading to confusion by some users about why they were banned,” continues the statement, which also notes that only a small subset of accounts were banned.
Niantic, however, warns players that they should continue to follow the terms of service, otherwise they may still face a permanent ban. The developer has no intention to unban accounts that were knowingly breaking the rules. For those that used third-party applications to “remotely capture Pokémon, battle or deploy on Gyms, or harvest resources from PokéStops,” they will retain their ban.
[Source: Pokémon Go Blog Post]
Determining which players knowingly cheated and which didn’t probably isn’t the easiest to figure out. Kudos to Niantic in attempting to rectify any unjustified bans.