Niantic Plans to Unban Some Pokemon Go Accounts

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ComicBook.com has reported on Niantic's aggressive actions against bot users and other cheaters, using bans and threats of legal action to shut down the rampant cheating that has plagued Pokemon Go from the start. However, Niantic's ban waves might have hit some unwitting victims, which has led to the company taking a second look at who they've banned in recent weeks.

In a blog post posted last night, Niantic CEO John Hanke explained why they were banning certain accounts. " Some players may not have realized that some add-on map apps do more than just show you nearby Pokémon," Hanke wrote. "Each end-user app can be used as a collection tool by the app creator, invisibly collecting and forwarding data to the app creator with or without the knowledge of the end user. These apps can have an effect similar to DDoS attacks on our 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."

After the shutdown of PokeVision, many Pokemon Go map app required users to enter in account information in order to use the app. That app would then access Pokemon Go's servers using the user's log in to scrape data from the servers, including the location of nearby Pokemon. It appears that while many fans assumed the map functioned exactly like PokeVision, Niantic could trace and take action against users that used the app.

However, Hanke then clarified that it will be able to "unban" these particular accounts, thanks to recent changes in the company's infrastructure. However, while Niantic will unban accounts that used add-on maps, Hanke clarified that these add-ons were still against Niantic's terms of service and continued use of add-on maps could result in a second ban. Hanke also confirmed Niantic would not unban accounts that showed signs of bot use or GPS spoofing.

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Basically, it appears that Niantic is willing to give a subset of its users a warning for using the map apps, but that their leniency doesn't give players a free pass. Players should be aware that any third party app that asks for your Pokemon Go log in can be traced by Niantic and could result in a permanent ban.