Not really surprised, I was just interested to see so many other folks apparently got hit at about the same time. I dropped into my old local Telegram chat for the Ingress crew (there's still a few of us that chat, even though we don't play any more) and they dropped this link and mentioned that I wasn't the only one kinda banned outa the blue.
All the multi accounters and spoofers in my area are still active. I expected nothing less really. There's only a couple players left anyway. Kinda a waste of time anymore. Nobody really plays.
I dunno. My dad was banned last year for 3 months. No email notification, Niantic wouldn't tell him anything.
That's why I suggest requesting a copy of your data (email [email protected] and say you want a copy of all data they have attached to your account). They have a history of everything you've picked up, used, dropped, said, has been @ said at you, etc. You might be able to find a clue.
Well, looks like day 2 and we have a bit more that 20 accounts affected, don't we? :)
I am now wondering if the release of the social feature and those "polemic badges" seen in the anouncement are somehow related to this :)
Also one of the player's in my group got banned yesterday. Ironic, was on his way to where I live to do missions so he could lvl up... got a ban instead of a new badge and lvl up🤦♀️ hope NIA will fix this FAST.
Haven't heard of a single ban among my city community Enlightened players (I have no info about the state of things on Res side). I guess we're doing a good job persuading our people to not cheat.
Which makes it pretty much useless! If people can't expect a warning when the system thinks you are doing something wrong, you would very easily end up with false positives exactly like in this case!
You clearly don't seem to understand the system. Depending on the severity of the violation of ToS and its impact on the game, Niantic need not give three strikes to offenders. This applies to situations such as Spoofers taking down remote portals for example. Imagine giving 3 chances to them... I suggest you to read about that three-strike policy first.
I'm not seeing anything common about the accounts in this banwave to indicate they were spoofing or doing anything of similar severity, though I'm happy to be proven wrong.
All I'm seeing are trends of inactivity.
I'm aware. I was just informing that person about the 3 strikes system.
Still waiting for the acknowledgement that this statement was incorrect. Should I hold my breath?
Every account in the thread about bans that your account is included in on the community forum was looked at manually. Many of the accounts have previously been warned and should not be at all surprised. As for the others, I've asked about being more open with the reason that the accounts were banned, and we are looking at ways of adding that transparency. For context, the reason it isnt so simple is that we have had lvl16 + recursed agents be part of these large botnets which are facilitating a lot of the cheating and to reveal why they got banned would allow them to fix their algorithms to make sure that they dont get caught again. We currently give a list of a few reasons that could have been the cause so that they cant accurately detect which one they were caught for, but we're trying to see if there are other ways to add transparency to the system too.
So, given Niantic's history of whoopsie maneuvers on these things, I don't have much confidence to start with, but especially on this one.
alarsisu: hasn't been active in months. We had to ping him a few times to get him to check quantity of keys in a capsule and that's been the peak of his activity in a long time.
2BDCy4D: Has spent significant time flash farming L6 portals with me because we were out of gear and desperate. We've worked together on shards, on multiple anomalies, etc. He's had every opportunity to go darkside on things and is instead frequently the voice of reason.
I have complete confidence Niantic made a mistake here and this does not sit well with me. You guys can't manage to catch blatant spoofers without escalation through TR channels but you've got the arrogance to believe you're completely accurate in this determination. Hell, I think if you put those two and me in a room with our local ENL, I am the one they'd tar and feather as the "dirty cheater".
"As for the others, I've asked about being more open with the reason that the accounts were banned, and we are looking at ways of adding that transparency."
We've been waiting for transparency for years and it's somehow always something Niantic is looking at ways of adding.
"We currently give a list of a few reasons that could have been the cause"
As was highlighted in the Reddit thread, those few reasons amount to the majority of the ToS and do nothing to narrow it down.
This does not sit well with our players. I think this is going to be what drives the rest of Des Moines area veterans into retirement.
If they've done a second manual review, then likely anyone not unbanned has triggered what they are concerned with.
This makes me more confident that this is a detection for something that people have considered "grey area" for years and Niantic has finally taken action to crack down on it. The most likely candidate being account sharing.
I'm not convinced they've done a manual review at all, let alone a second.
Let's assume you're right, for the sake of argument. Generally, in such a scenario, one would make it clear that such action is no longer being tolerated and then enforce vigorously - e.g. gear buying.
I'll voluntarily terminate my account if conclusive proof is provided either of the players I mentioned were sharing an account with anyone.
Niantic won't provide that, so unless the Agents come forward with something, it's a safe bet.
Fair point. I'll rectify that.
I'm getting married October 3rd. This situation is sufficiently messed up that I'll voluntarily close my account at that point.
I have no desire to play a game where players I have complete confidence are about as legit as it gets are arbitrarily banned, with a review process consisting of 5-10 minute auto ticket closes. I'll use the time to get some memories and a write-up together for our local community. I've got some Darsana and Shonin photos to dig up.
If that was account sharing I'm pretty sure a lot more agents would be affected.
Also, fully agree on the "manual review" part, very hard to believe, specially when they don't even provide an amount of accounts banned.
Why not announcing the ban wave instead?
"Dear agents, whe did some magic stuff and therefore you may see some wizards and witches burn in the following week."
"Dear agents, we are happy to share that a total of [insert rough number here] have successfully burned down to ashes and these lands are a bit less cluttered with dark magic."
And that's it, no need to give full details!
You wanted link amps and frackers for the reception, right?
And like that, they're closer to admitting mistake. Welcome back.
I'd prefer ceremony but absolutely. 💙
So, the THIRD review seems like it was the one that was actually done, and we had to spin up forums posts and several chats. Welcome back indeed @2BDCy4D !!! Let's Stockholm syndrome together for a bit longer 🙃
When do we expect the post explaining what went wrong with their ban algorithm, and apologizing for the inconvenience, as well as the damage to the trust we have in Niantic?
Or do we have to be satisfied with neutered "AMAs" that filter out any criticism because Niantic staff can't handle any heat?
I generally don't approve of emoji-only replies, but in this case...
it was said on reddit most bans were justified and accounts that banned were in danger before so no suprise why ban now.... there are some exceptions of course but maybe majority in the ban wave not...
Yes. There were exceptions, to which the entirety of HankThePigeon's reply applies.
We don't know how many accounts this impacted, what was targeted, etc. because Niantic is generally (and rightly so) tight-lipped about these things. What we do know is that, regardless of however many correctly-targeted actions were taken, more than a few incorrectly-targeted bans were handed out.
We aren't worried about the majority. We're worried about why so many accounts have been incorrectly targeted, why the initial appeal was nothing more than an auto-close of the ticket, why it took a forums post to get some form of Niantic attention on these wrongful bans, why a second review at that point was actually thorough, and why we should spend any money or invest serious time into a game where we can watch 6+ years of achievements and progress vanish despite having done nothing wrong.
It's hard to have any confidence in the administrators of a game when they whoopsie a set of bans and then blame the banned for it. The utter lack of ownership on this is concerning. At least a few times in the past there has been a public statement to the tune of "whoops, here's what happened" (e.g. Android Beta bans as screenshots show on page 1 or 2 of this thread). There's still time for such a thing.
Edit: It's not a complete lack of ownership. Brian Rose did say he'd reach out to the team - that's something.
Exactly. It's not about the majority, it's about identifying why legit accounts are caught at all. Accounts with no previous strikes getting permabanned with no warning is only acceptable when there is obvious behavior, like spoofing fields. However, as an agent who plays along the gulf, I have seen many accounts make obvious spoof actions and live to spoof another day.
Niantic could EASILY offer some kind of explanation to why this wave happened and how they are preventing it from happening again. They could offer this explanation without having to give away details of what types of behavior triggered the bans. But they won't.
Instead, we are supposed to be happy with their response of "we'll let you have your account back, but don't cheat again", which presumes guilt. @slipsec was very accurate with his Stockholm comment.
Consider the possibility that these accounts have been compromised and possibly being used by the scraper services that popped up.
Sure. If you detect unusual gameplay patterns from an account (e.g. compromised, logging in from weird IPs) do you:
1) Assume the worst and immediately permanently ban it,
2) Warn the player and temporarily lock the account?
This aside from it being a ridiculous consideration, given one of the players I posed about is using 2FA on their Ingress gmail and neither of them have any unusual traffic / logins on said gmail.
Oauth lifted from a bad IITC plugin is all it would take. There's other ways to lift Oauth if they are using v2.
This would also require a breach of Niantic's security, not just copying a cookie.
More likely, if it's not the accounts themselves, it could be that they cracking down tighter on gear and the 'mules' were holding something that had been passed 10 times but started from a bot.
If that's the case, I'd definitely like an announcement about it, since Niantic has said previously that they won't ban people for receipt of stolen goods unless they can prove the knowing.
To this point, literally all we have is rough speculation and that's part of the problem.