Blog
June 24, 2022
Niantic’s efforts to combat child sexual abuse and exploitation online

We want our community, and especially our younger players and their caretakers, to feel safe, offline and online, to interact, adventure, and explore the world. As part of this commitment, we are joining the fight in preventing, detecting, removing and reporting Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) on our games and products. This short post presents our efforts to date, and you can continue to expect more from us on this front. 

Niantic has invested in cutting-edge technology to identify re-uploads of previously identified CSAM, using hash-matching technology such as PhotoDNA, as well as to identify uploads of never-seen-before CSAM. When potential CSAM is surfaced by those technologies, our teams of specialists review the image or video. If CSAM is confirmed, the content is removed and reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), regardless of the player’s motivation for sharing it. NCMEC then works with national and international Law Enforcement agencies.

In our commitment to fighting online child sexual exploitation and abuse, we are partnering with several national and international organizations, such as:

  • Thorn, whose mission is to eliminate CSAM from the internet. We are using their tool, Safer, to identify, remove and report CSAM.

  • The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), who works to stop the repeated victimization of people abused in childhood, and to make the internet a safer place, by identifying and removing global online child sexual abuse imagery.

  • NCMEC, the USA’s nonprofit clearinghouse and comprehensive reporting center for all issues related to the prevention of and recovery from child victimization.

Our Player Guidelines forbid all forms of child sexual exploitation and users who violate this policy are permanently removed from our games and products.


–The Niantic team

June 23, 2022
An Update on Niantic’s Gameplay Policy Enforcement

We want to start this note by thanking you, our players, for your patience and understanding as we continuously work to facilitate a fun and fair environment for everyone. We've heard your feedback and feel your frustration about how cheating behaviors negatively impact your gameplay experience.

It has been a little while since our most recent update from the beginning of 2021 on our efforts to prevent cheating in our games and we wanted to share what we have been working on. 

Our last post was focused primarily on sharing a broad overview of the actions we had taken to punish accounts we found to be cheating in multiple Niantic games. Since then, we’ve invested in becoming better at observing cheating behaviors, and can now more reliably pinpoint these activities with higher speed and accuracy, preventing legitimate players from being punished incorrectly.

As a result, we will be ramping up enforcement against these behaviors across our games, and rolling out our improved approach to anti-cheat. We are starting now by taking action against a number of accounts who we found to be in violation of our terms of service or player guidelines during recent in-game events in Pokémon GO. 

This is only the first step in implementing our improved cheating behavior detection and enforcement systems. These improvements will be integrated into all Niantic games to detect and punish players on a consistent and ongoing basis, rather than in waves, as we have in the past.

Looking ahead, we’ll continue to improve our methods and processes to ensure we’re staying ahead of any new behaviors that allow players to unfairly exploit game rules.

Please only use the official versions of our games available on the Google Play Store, Apple App Store and Samsung Galaxy Store; and note that we do not support jailbroken or rooted devices or third-party apps. If you’re unsure about which behaviors are acceptable in our games, please refer to our player guidelines.

–The Niantic team

June 16, 2022
Bringing the Cannes Lions Festival into the Real-World Metaverse
Niantic is augmenting the festival with a number of AR activations built using the 8th Wall and Lightship platforms

Augmented reality is a powerful tool for advertising and marketing. From in-app advertising in Pokémon GO to the now 1,800+ in-market branded WebAR experiences powered by 8th Wall, Niantic has been equipping brands and marketers with new ways to reach and engage consumers wherever they are. To celebrate this, and to inspire even more brands and marketers to tap into the power of AR, Niantic is headed to the Cannes Lions Festival as an official partner for the very first time.

Cannes Lions, a five-day International Festival of Creativity from June 20-24, 2022, is the largest gathering in the creative marketing community. The festival has been championing creative excellence since 1954, with the goal of providing a global destination and the definitive benchmark for creativity that drives progress.

At Niantic, we are on a mission to inspire people to explore the world together, and use technology to enhance the human experience. For this year’s Cannes Lions, we are working with a select group of partners to augment the festival with a number of new and inspiring AR experiences, powered by the 8th Wall and the Lightship platforms. Using both our native and web development tools, our partners are bringing Cannes Lions 2022 into the real-world metaverse.

Go on a WebAR scavenger hunt with Captain Doty

To inspire brands on how to use AR for marketing, we have teamed up with WebAR agency, Aircards, and Emodo, Ericsson's mobile advertising solution business, to debut an AR-enabled scavenger hunt at the festival. Situated on the Terrace at the event, “Doty’s Metaverse Trek '' is a five-item challenge which asks delegates to help Niantic’s adorable yeti, Captain Doty, collect camping gear around the festival. Enabled by 8th Wall’s Image Target technology, delegates will locate five signs featuring Captain Doty and will use their smartphones to trigger the WebAR experience where they will uncover a portal within the sign where they will navigate Doty to collect items. At any time, users can also place Captain Doty in the world in front of them and take them for a walk around the festival.

See Cannes like never before with the Niantic Viewfinder

Delegates will be able to view Cannes through the lens of augmented reality using the Niantic Viewfinder. Found on the Terrace, the AR Viewfinder layers digital information and AR experiences on the city of Cannes using the Niantic Lightship VPS (visual positioning system). Simply pull the lever to activate the Cannes in AR channel. We have layered in information about the City, animations, and content specific to this amazing event. Aim the Viewfinder at that mega yacht in the harbor to layer in marine traffic data about the crafts, such as last port, current speed, and country of origin. Pull the lever again to activate a special Cannes Photo Mode, and get your picture memorializing your time at Cannes with a special themed shot. FInally, pull the lever once more to see a Niantic Lightship tech channel, explaining how our platform sees the world, interprets what it is looking at, deconstructs and reconstructs with centimeter-level precision. It's a great way to visually understand the technical concepts that make AR feel even more real including occlusion, segmentation and VPS.

Fly the Niantic ARship around the Cannes Lions Festival

Take a flight on the Niantic ARship using the power of web-based augmented reality. Created by Wonderment by Design using 8th Wall’s World Effects technology, delegates will be able to place a tiny model of the Niantic ARship anywhere at the festival and navigate it around the event by tapping on the ground. Once the ARship arrives at the perfect location, delegates can take a picture or record a video to share this extraordinary moment with their friends, colleagues, and network.

Bring an NFT art exhibit into the real world using WebAR

On June 23, Niantic is hosting the official Happy Hour for the festival on the Terrace Stage. As part of this event, we have teamed up with decentralized WebAR gallery, Lucify.io, to showcase an NFT AR Exhibition at the Happy Hour. Curated by NFT agency, Turboslow, delegates will use their smartphones to select from a variety of image and video NFTs to place them on the walls of the Terrace in AR. The exhibit includes an exclusive NFT created for Cannes as part of the “Breathe with Me - Earth Air Can” collection and uses the 8th Wall platform to bring all NFTs into the real world using WebAR.

Challenge fellow delegates to an AR game of Tic-Tac-Toe

To help delegates connect and break the ice during the Happy Hour, we are challenging them to a game of Tic-Tac-Toe in AR. This multiplayer experience created by Orb Amsterdam, takes the classic two-person game into the next dimension using the 8th Wall platform. Triggered from QR code stickers found on tables around the Terrace, delegates will join a game and place a virtual board on the tabletop to take turns placing 3D X’s and O’s until someone wins.

Share your experience at Cannes by sending an AR postcard

With all the excitement going on at the festival, we are sure delegates will want to share their experience. To help them do this, we teamed up with Orb Amsterdam on an AR postcard. Using WebAR powered by 8th Wall, delegates can personalize their AR postcard by taking a picture at the festival and can send the postcard as a link on social media, email or any popular messaging app. The recipient will simply click on the link to place the animated AR postcard in their own world space. The AR postcard features the adorable yeti, Captain Doty, who is holding the photo taken at the event and celebrates the moment with a shower of confetti.

We can’t wait for delegates at the Cannes Lions Festival to experience the event in a brand new way. If you will be in Cannes, we invite you to meet with the Niantic and 8th Wall teams, and experience first-hand the variety of AR activations featured at the event. For those not at the event, keep an eye out on the Niantic social channels for video and links for you to participate remotely.

-The Niantic Brand Partnerships & 8th Wall teams