we’ve confirmed a number of reports on popular botting forums that a new ban wave was released! Hundreds of bot accounts were suspended and deactivated, especially in conjunction with web based bot platforms.
Before you put on your celebration hats, remember that there is a crude difference between a bot player and a spoofer.
Bots are automated programs that play the game on their own, often without human interaction. Spoofers use GPS spoofing methods to teleport around the area.
There are no reports that confirm or even mention that any GPS spoofers were banned, which is a big disappointment.
The reddit community is divided by this news, at best. Many players are disgruntled by the fact Niantic is taking almost no action against GPS spoofing, which is a more prevalent issue.
One redditor summarised the issue perfectly:
Would be beautiful if it actually accomplished anything… Sadly they only banned some bots used by some apps to track, tracking sites still work without any issues. And not a single spoofer has been banned. Honestly was waiting for a ban wave for so long, and for it to be coming like this without any real effect, it’s disheartening
We went to investigate if any of the popular Pokémon GO trackers were affected and the answer is no. A number of them did experience a short decline in service, but got up swiftly, as new bot accounts were created through PTC.
PTC stands for Pokémon Trainer Club and is a popular alternative to using Google accounts. PTC is the only option used by bots, trackers and GPS spoofers as account creation is fast and not secure.
This diagram shows recent PTC activity:
It remains to be seen what will Niantic do against GPS spoofers, or more importantly: when? As for the current state of the game, many low population areas are completely dominated by cheaters.