Niantic Lifts Bans for Some Pokémon GO Players

Niantic, developer of the augmented-reality game, has announced in a blog post that it will reverse a number of permanent bans that were placed on players by mistake over the past few weeks. CEO John Hanke stated that the Niantic team started placing bans on users making use of hacks and app add-ons that violated the company’s terms of service. Some of these tools were third-party mapping apps that located Pokémon in-game. An example of such a tool is Pokevision which is now defunct. At first, Niantic suspended access to such apps and about two weeks later, began to issue permanent account bans.

Some mapping tools also forwarded user information to Niantic’s servers, which was mistaken by the company as a DDOS attack. Since the data transfers seemed of a malicious nature at a cursory glance, Niantic instinctively banned any accounts using the mapping add-ons in a bid to protect its servers, leaving players confused as to why this necessitated a ban.

Niantic is now revisiting all the banned accounts to reverse bans on individuals that were not aware they were violating Niantic’s Terms of Service. Hanke stresses that any tools and add-ons that chafe data from Niantic’s servers are in violation of its Terms of Service and their use may result in permanent account bans, and re-suspension of account that continue to use them.

He continued to announce that bans will not be lifted from accounts opened to scrape game data, and from those that utilized location spoofing apps to play in another country than they are originally in. Banning such accounts will be aggressively undertaken, he observed, in order to guarantee a legitimate and fair experience for all players.

Of course, there are ways to avoid being banned from Pokemon GO.