Niantic is banning Xiaomi Redmi 5 users

Niantic is falsely detecting Xiaomi 5 devices. A recent update there gave us the system app Game booster, which is meant to prevent lagging and improve game performance. Said app is the likely cause for the recent wave of bans/strikes.
If anyone reading this got a warning, turn the system app off through the settings or else you’ll be suspended. Niantic so far ignored all appeals, but the recent amount of people getting bans might change that since the Reddit post got a lot of upvotes. The strikes and suspensions need to be cleared since it’s Niantic who is in the wrong here.

And in case anyone wonders, yes, said thing affected me too and the appeal didn’t go anywhere so far. However, those who got bans have figured out why we got them. There is also a google form on the reddit post for those affected. Niantic needs to act, it is a mistake from their side and people who did not cheat are getting banned.

Somehow this just had to happen to the model I bought… sigh, eff my life.

Also, spread this to your communities. People who aren’t active online can also be affected and this could help them resolve the issue.

Do you actually think before stupid shit just flies out of your mouth?

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Thanks for the update. I’ll share with my community group chats. Sorry ya got taken down, I hope you get your account back.

I’ve been using said phone for over a year now. The recent update resulted in the game booster which was added with a system update.

As of Lemywinks70’s snarkasm, nothing new really. Basically the bitterness of Gordon Ramsay, with no skill to back it up. Must be one hell of a person to raid with.
That being said, to adress the “arguments” in the soon to be deleted comment.
First of all, it is the community and Niantic’s problem if they are false flagging software. This means that every update on any device could result in the same thing happening. Keep in mind that said software doesn’t affect either GPS location nor logs into your account, so I really want to know what the hell gets even picked up by it and how it picks up this and not people who are spoofing.
Secondly, regarding practices and such in which said technology is made… if we really going there, then we could just stop using just about anything, cause frankly point out one company which doesn’t have skeletons in their closet… thought so.

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Wonder how PoGo would run on a Fairphone…

For that, I meant Xiaomi could be particularly vulnerable to bans after system updates for the reasons I mentioned above, in my flagged post (I only meant to point out my view of the situation, why flag :disappointed_relieved:). And yes it is Niantic’s fault as always, but well there’s this particular pattern that almost all phones that are affected by this are phones made in China, so…maybe there is some reason for that? I dunno.

Well, all phones capable of running Pokemon Go are made in China, so…

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The only phone affected by this is Xiaomi’s Redmi 5 series. It was caused by the recent system update that happened in early September, when MIUI was updated to 10.2.3.0. The other Xiaomi phones don’t seem to be targeted as of now.

This doesn’t have anything to do with China, but Niantic’s cheating detection misidentyfied something. People affected by this are not breaking the ToS, since the gameplay prior getting the strikes is exactly the same, most people assume that the Game Booster is triggering the bans. Said system app can not be uninstalled, but one can also not cheat wih it. The only thing that said app achieves is that the game lags less.

This needs to get fixed asap, since people’s accounts will be otherwise terminated, despite them never cheating. Niantic has so far been silent about this and hasn’t responded to anything, after people in the last few days finally found out why these bans happened. They could either be actually looking into this issue or be ignoring it.
In situations like this where hundreds of people online confirmed that they are affected and probably thousands more, one should not be silent. If nothing else they should put their ban waves on hold, so that not more damage is generated. It’s rather obvious by now, that those who actually cheat are not detected.

I’ll be honest, if this doesn’t get fixed, then I’m quitting the game. They burned the bridge with the undeserved strikes and them ignoring you when you appeal. Seeing the reason why this happened and a confirmation that I indeed did nothing wrong also doesn’t help. I see no point in returning to the game, as long as the ban doesn’t get resolved and cleared and I see no point in trying to work around this, because I have no interest in using my account as a guinea pig and see it getting terminated. Everything that has happened to me and the other players affected by this is purely Niantic’s fault, not ours.

On a side note, this highlighted how awful Niantic’s support is, because they ignore everything. It’s like arguing with a bot that can only give 4 negative answers. No wonder they say that most bans appeals don’t get resolved on their site, they don’t even listen to them. It’s the same thing as when the weather malfunctioned on Slakoth’s CD in Europe, the same kind of dismissive responses that assume that it’s your fault that something is wrong.

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Thanks. I will get my account back, but I see no point in returning if this doesn’t get fixed. Logging back into my phone would result in my account getting terminated and after all that happened, I see no point in catering to them and getting myself a new phone. Just no, this needs to get fixed and the strikes need to get cleared. Something like this could also happen on another device as well …and then?

Kind of weird that first news covering this is from a german site, but it has to start somewhere:

Translation: Pokemon Go bans hundreds of users without a reason - what is happening?
They cover the basic info from reddit and how Niantic hasn’t responded yet. They mention that this is not the first time something like this has happened. They link to news about player’s accounts disappearing in early 2019 and how those accounts were later brought back.
(good thing that I watched mostly german TV when I was young, which is how I learned the language)

It would help a lot of other news sites would also cover this, since then it could force Niantic to actually do something. Xiaomi being mostly popular in non-English speaking countries also kind of shows where most players are affected.

Well, sadly, it won’t get noticed since… they are kicking you out anyway. It would be (sorry, this example is political and way more serious, I tried to find an example that would be understandable worldwide) as if Mexicans decided, in a protest against the Trump wall project, to stop being “clients” of the USA and to stop trying to get to the USA… Which is precisely what Trump wants.

I suppose a solution would be, first, to get vocal on social networks, and in the absence of reaction to try to embark other players, with working phones, in a movement like a PoGo boycott for a day or something, just to catch Niantic’s attention. If it comes to that, you guys share the info here, I’ll be glad to transfer it to my local community. As a matter of fact, I’ll look for people concerned with this.

I’d rather quit with my account still present somehow, but inactive, then seeing it getting terminated due to their cheating software false strikes. A lot of memories are attached to said account…

I will be vocal about it and I am bringing this up everywhere I can to get a response, but I will not risk my account anymore. Something needs to change before I will log back into it.

Also the example isn’t quite right here. Niantic didn’t pick me and the others to get rid of us, their detection software made mistakes and only time will tell if they will bother fixing them. Why would they want to get rid of players who don’t cheat? It’s really just a matter of them bothering with us or throwing us under the bus because they don’t want to deal with it.

I wish you the best of luck and hope this issue gets more attention. I’ll do my part and share this on Discord.

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.

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.

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.

Reporting to Niantic will achieve nothing.

Write instead to their sponsors, Xiaomi, Niantic/TPC and news sites.

I’m happy to see that Gamepress wrote about this. It is an issue that affects hundreds of people and it certainly deserves to be mentioned:

Some news sites/blogs have picked up the story too:













The bigger news sites haven’t written anything yet though. I did contact a few about what happened.
Niantic is still silent about the situation…

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Hope Niantic notices this ASAP, and actually gives a valid response.

They did notice it for sure. People have now been constantly mentioning this on their twitter support for days, but they so far haven’t responded to any of the tweets that mention Xiaomi. It’s frustrating. The google form that was started on Reddit got over 200 signs from users who received strikes within a day. If one takes also into account how many people are just casual players who do not follow PoGO related content online and that Xiaomi is most popular in non-english speaking countries, then it becomes clear that this affects a lot of people and would need to get addressed asap.

Niantic is however known to take forever in such situations to respond. Earlier this year a similar situation happened with the Ingress Scanner redacted, where many people got false flag bans and this is more or less the only time they admitted that their detection software has major flaws.

But even here, they gave an half-assed response:

Even if this wouldn’t affect me, I would have been angry, this is not acceptable behavior and if it becomes known that the anti-cheating detection became so aggressive that it flags the wrong people, then in all honesty wouldn’t the most sensible thing to do be to temporarily put it on hiatus to prevent further damage and focus on dealing with the problem? I really can’t with Niantic. They make so much profit and yet they lack on so many levels, which is mainly due to them not caring.

I guess that all that’s left for now is for people to bring attention to the situation and to help those who got affected. There have also been some reports of people claiming they got strikes even with the app booster turned off. The Xiaomi 5 series is as of now not safe to use if it has the latest system update and those who got a suspension are if nothing happens forced to start using another device, since otherwise their account will get terminated.
I myself do have an old phone which could run the game, but if the strikes don’t get cleared I see no point in returning. Getting two strikes only to find out that I am not in the wrong here and that said thing affects hundreds of people around the world is bad enough, but Niantic not responding to this is even worse. They are the ones who screwed up.

Actually,

This was my post’s main point. Apart from the example you mentioned above, let’s not forget how they dealt with Europe/Africa’s Slakoth Community Day.

The compensation was good, but it took them a long time before they even acknowledged that something went wrong.
Here it’s way worse. People risk getting their accounts terminated, despite not cheating and Niantic is silent. I do not know why they have such an approach, because it makes them look bad. If a big number of people report something all they would have to do is release a statement where they say, that they have received reports about an issue and are looking into it. Heck, they did respond like this to someone who pointed out that they wrongly named the new hoodies as backpacks. Which is good, don’t get me wrong, items that require in-game currency shouldn’t be bugged.

The community manager is also on vacation right now. She is frankly the only one that does a good job and after she returns I’ll bring this to her attention since she seems the most likely to actually look into this.