There’s a potentially bigger issue at play here as well that stems from the fact that Niantic’s anti-cheating methods are (not for the first time) flagging false positives and resulting in players losing access to their accounts even though they’ve done nothing wrong.
That’s been the case for a while now, but it were isolated cases mostly. People have already gotten banned before despite not doing anything that breaks ToS. LuckyBunz on youtube had this exprience, when he suddenly lost access to his account for 8 months, before it randomly was unbanned again. Some other people also reported getting banned out of nowhere. I did a while ago already go through this, but I can in the following days . It certainly happened before and seeing Niantic’s appeal process it obviously resulted in none of them getting an appeal through.
That being said, said things already happened multiple times in Ingress, where people got wrongfully banned.
I hope others will spread the word about this as well in hopes of drawing attention from Niantic. Otherwise, this will likely not be the last time an issue like this crops up. Players who aren’t downloading ToS-breaking third-party apps shouldn’t have to fear for the integrity of their accounts.
Yes, nothing kills the interest in playing more than getting banned out of nowhere and later finding out that indeed you did nothing against ToS.
With all being said, the biggest issue here is not the false flagging, but that one simply can’t get through with an appeal. The support ignores you and tells you that you are wrong. This is what I got:
We take fairness seriously at Niantic. Accounts that have been found to not be playing within our Terms of Service (https://www.nianticlabs.com/terms/pokemongo/en) and the Trainer Guidelines (https://niantic.support/2qNgHlX) will be suspended. Your temporary suspension will be lifted within approximately 30 days.
If we find that you continue to violate any of the Pokémon GO Terms of Service and Pokémon GO Trainer guidelines, your Pokémon GO account will be terminated.
Once your account has been reinstated after the ban period, our expectation is that you will continue to play with the official version of Pokémon GO available only on Google Play and the App Store. Please note that any further transgressions may lead to permanent and irreversible account termination.
We’ve suspended all the accounts that have been found to be playing with unofficial 3rd party software or add-ons. We realize you may want additional details on how we detect the apps or what exactly these accounts are doing that is against our Pokémon GO Terms of Service and the Trainer Guidelines. Unfortunately, any additional detail we provide may simultaneously help the malicious third-party software providers and compromise our security protocols. What we can tell you is that we have reviewed all ban appeals and have the utmost confidence that our detection methods are sound. We have suspended only those players who were in fact using unofficial third-party software.
We’re doing everything we can to ensure that 100% of our community plays in that spirit. We thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.
We’re committed to our efforts against cheating to ensure that Pokémon GO is fair for all players. I’m sorry to say we can’t offer any additional information related to this. You are welcome to return to the game once your ban is lifted.
We re not able to provide any additional support related to your ban. You will be able to eventually return to your game once your ban is lifted.
So much information learned… keep in mind that this are all individual messages and the were the picked response to every question I asked.
And this here is by far the biggest BS from them:
Unfortunately, any additional detail we provide may simultaneously help the malicious third-party software providers and compromise our security protocols. What we can tell you is that we have reviewed all ban appeals and have the utmost confidence that our detection methods are sound.
All I wanted to know is what caused the ban on my account. Nope, no details can be given. It would help the spoofers, which totally are not bypassing everything in the game as we currently speak…
And seeing that a software update caused all of this on my phone, it’s rather obvious than no one is manually going through these bans. In other words, once you’re hit with the ban hammer you’re screwed.