Pokémon Go developer Niantic is reversing some permanent account bans it mistakenly issued over the last few weeks, the company announced today in a blog post. Niantic CEO John Hanke says his team began issuing bans based on whether players were using tools that broke the company’s terms of service. In some cases, this involved third-party mapping tools designed to show you where pokémon were located, like the popular but now defunct PokéVision. Niantic first began cutting off access to those apps earlier this month, and it started aggressively issuing permanent account bans about two weeks ago.
In some cases, lesser known mapping tools also collected data on users and sent it to Niantic’s servers, something that Hanke says resembled a distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attack. Because these data transfers appeared malicious at first glance, Niantic acted somewhat indiscriminately when it came to protecting its servers. "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," Hanke writes. "This is a small subset of the accounts banned."
Niantic says it will still ban accounts that violate its terms of service
Now, Niantic is going through the accounts it banned to reinstate those players who weren't knowingly violating the TOS. "Add-on maps which scrape data from our servers still violate our terms of service and use of them may still result in an account ban going forward," Hanke clarifies. He also says that accounts that were created to scrape data from the game or those that used GPS spoofing techniques to play in other areas around the world will remain permanently banned. "Our main priority is to provide a fair, fun, and legitimate experience for all players," he concludes, "so aggressive banning will continue to occur for players who engage in these kinds of activities."