NianticGiffard has propably left the company
Giffard's last post has been made on the 30th of July. This is one week without any interaction with the community. While three days without posts have happened in the past, it is very likely that his work contract has been terminated to the end of the month. Similar to Liz George, PokemonGO Community Manager, who has also resigned from Niantic a while ago because of multiple problems with the app (unchecked banwaves, change of "post-covid" playstyle, etc.). I wonder if he just got bored with the forum community or just didn't want to work anymore for the company which handled the Russian Wayfarer Challenge with lies to the end.