Normal activity can appear unusual. Below are two made up situations that I’m not sure if would actually apply to Brave, but it’s just to paint a picture.
User has had web browser for 1 year. Normally they are on the web browser for 3 hours a day. On occasion up to 8, but that’s it. Beyond that they sleep, work, and have a life.
One week, the User is on web browser for 10 hours a day, with some days of 14+ hours.
Is that week unusual? How about if what was a random schedule suddenly turned into routine hours, almost like a robot is controlling it? Unusual? This continues for months. Unusual?
User has set their country to United Kingdom. They view ads and things go well. The desktop remains in the same location and this goes on for years. It might go elsewhere for a month or two, such as if a person is on vacation or a business trip, but the majority of time spent is United Kingdom.
Then one day, the IP address starts to change frequently. One day it’s United Kingdom, another day it’s United States. It may even go to other countries or random parts of the country. In fact, it went from England to California in just 30 minutes. Sound usual to you?
In its traveling, it’s viewing ads from each region which are supposed to only show to people who live in those countries. The system is set up to handle short vacations, to null out payments, but this is ongoing. It comes to a time that it’s seeing more ads from United States than it is from United Kingdom. Yet the country chosen is United Kingdom. Does this sound usual?
What you’ll see though is the system suspends the accounts on each for potential abuse or fraud. However, Example 1 may just be the person got fired from their job, they got married and now it’s two people using the device, etc. So they submit a support ticket and Brave staff looks through what they can to see if it seems to match with anything that is a deliberate abuse or if it seems like it’s really normal use. If they see it seems possible that it’s legitimate, they reinstate the account. Sometimes they give it back to someone who is abusing the system, but generally play it safe.
In Example 2, the person started using a VPN. Using a VPN to get to things like Netflix is fine, but this person is keeping the VPN active for countries that they don’t live in. Brave then makes a judgment call to determine if this is happening so the person can get more ads or what might be going on. You stand a higher risk of suspension remaning if you’re from a “poorer” country with little to no ads. That said, person in Example 2 seems like they really are just doing a lot of Netflix and all which they can’t access outside of VPN. The amount of ads they are viewing are small. So it’s determined that while it’s suspicious, the person doesn’t seem to be doing it to try to abuse Rewards but is just simply doing it to get content.
Those are two very bad examples of where things could be flagged but the User didn’t necessarily do anything wrong. Though their activity could be seen as suspicious.
Now, I say bad example because I’ve seen Chriscat and others say that they can’t tell which ads each individual use. I also know that they can’t see much of our specific activity or anything. There’s a lot of privacy things where they say they don’t have access. Yet I know the system is able to detect and infer information. Only thing I don’t know is what they specifically can see and work with. I do know there are checks and balances for ad campaigns and our IP address. It’s just that Brave won’t ever fully reveal what they see and how they flag accounts. Yet based on when they used to give more information, we do know things like automation, using VPN to appear elsewhere, adding a lot of devices to an account, actively using devices for what is not common in a person, etc all were things that resulted in suspensions.
The VPN thing was especially the case if it was someone from a country like Philippines, Vietnam, India, etc where there weren’t a lot of ad campaigns or ad sales were low and these people were suddenly using VPN to appear as if they were in the United States, just so they can try to earn more money.