We’ve observed a huge spike of activity on popular botting and cheating forums today, with players reporting their bot accounts are getting removed, namely on Owned Core. The reports are still coming in, but evidence suggests that Niantic is currently massively banning bot accounts.

This is “The Third Big Ban Wave” we’ve observed this year:

  • 1st Ban Wave occured from January 20 to 24
  • 2nd Ban Wave occured from March 2 to 4
  • 3nd Ban wave is currently in effect, starting April 11

Evidence suggests that this ban wave mostly targets bot accounts, which are mostly used for maps, account leveling and other fradulent activity. There is some evidence that players who practice GPS spoofing were also affected, but it’s too early to confirm.

If you’re not familiar with the terminology, here’s a quick rundown:

  • A bot is an automated software that plays the game without player interaction. It allows for 24/7 gameplay and is often used for fradulent purposes. A bot needs one or more real Pokémon GO accounts to work.
  • A player practicing GPS spoofing is a player that uses apps which provide fake location information to play the game. These players are considered cheaters as they are breaking the in game Terms of Service.

According to threads on popular botting forums, it seems that targeted accounts were previously reported by players, often found in Gyms and were previously known for fradulent activity.

In other words, reporting bots and cheaters does have an effect on the outcome of these ban waves.

For legitimate players, this is the perfect time to claim Gyms in your area again. Although this ban wave is not specifically targeting spoofers, it’s evident that a number of high Gym spots are taken by bot accounts.

There has been no confirmation from Niantic, but we’re not expecting one, as past Ban Waves were also not announced or confirmed.