Niantic is repealing some Pokémon GO bans that resulted from the use of add-ons according to an update on the game's official website.
The post opens with a statement that Niantic is continuing to ban bots and data scrapers along with user accounts associated with these activities. A "small subset" of users were using add-ons for the service that collected and transmitted data in the background. Collectively, these add-ons resulted in strain on Niantic's servers and accounts causing this effect were banned.
These particular Pokémon GO bans are now being repealed following changes to their infrastructure. Niantic cautions users that use of add-ons which collect and transmit server data will result in a ban for violating the terms of service from this point forward. Unfortunately, they have not specified which add-ons caused bans and whose bans may have been reversed as a result of this update. The discussion thread on the update on /r/pokemongo has some users reporting repealed bans and others reporting that they're still banned. Suffice to say, if you've been banned for using an add-on in the past they only way to see if this applies to you would be to remove all add-ons and then attempt to log back into Pokémon GO.
Although they haven't stated which apps were specifically affected, a subset of add-ons has explicitly been stated to not be eligible for this ban repeal. If your account was associated with an app or website that allowed you to remotely capture Pokémon, battle or deploy on Gyms, or harvest resources from Poké Stops you're out of luck.
Niantic has previously stated that they were not a fan of third-party tracking sites. They took action against some of these sites a short time afterwards, shutting down a variety of popular trackers such as Pokévision and Poke Hound. The "footsteps" from the built-in tracker were completely removed in a patch and later began beta testing a new tracker system. They have also recently added the ability to "Appraise" Pokémon, likely in a bid to do away with IV calculator add-ons.
Niantic has to protect their server stability. Repealing Pokémon GO bans that resulted from such an odd situation is a nice move, but it doesn't fix the root cause of their existence. Although there are lazy people (or people living in underserved areas) botting and GPS spoofing, I believe that most of these apps exist because of the lack of proper tools to track Pokémon and calculate IV. (Even the in-game IV calculator isn't as accurate as it could be.) The tools that handled these things weren't anywhere near as hamstrung in the core game, and until Niantic rectifies this in the app itself this will continue to be a problem for them. Crappy tracking and poor data does not make for a fun game in my opinion.
What do you think of Niantic repealing the bans for this particular subset of users? How do you feel they are handling the game lately? Do you think they will eventually incorporate features that render the add-ons redundant? Let us know in the comments below!