Erroneous automatic ban of players



  • 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.

  • VenomousToadVenomousToad ✭✭✭✭✭

    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.

  • GoblinGranateGoblinGranate ✭✭✭✭✭

    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.

  • 1valdis1valdis ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2020

    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.

    Post edited by 1valdis on
  • 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.

  • jsylvisjsylvis ✭✭✭✭

    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?

  • 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.

  • jsylvisjsylvis ✭✭✭✭

    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.

  • jsylvisjsylvis ✭✭✭✭

    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?

  • mortuusmortuus ✭✭✭✭✭

    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...

  • jsylvisjsylvis ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2020

    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.

    Post edited by jsylvis on
  • 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.

  • NysyrNysyr ✭✭✭✭

    Consider the possibility that these accounts have been compromised and possibly being used by the scraper services that popped up.

  • jsylvisjsylvis ✭✭✭✭

    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.

  • NysyrNysyr ✭✭✭✭

    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.

  • jsylvisjsylvis ✭✭✭✭

    To this point, literally all we have is rough speculation and that's part of the problem.

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