Google+, Google’s social network, to shut down after bug exposes users’ data

Ruben Fields
October 11, 2018

Google will gradually shut down the consumer version of its long-shunned social network Plus, after the search giant disclosed on Monday it had discovered a security lapse that may have exposed the personal information of up to 500,000 users.

In March, a security audit revealed a software bug that gave third-party apps access to Google+ private profile data that people meant to share only with friends. In the blog post, Google said its "Privacy & Data Protection Office" decided the company was not required to report the security issue.

"None of these thresholds were met here", they said.

Despite the size of the security flaw, Google executives opted not to disclose the problem at the time because they feared trouble from regulators after the intense criticism encountered by Facebook over its privacy woes, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Google also says that it found no evidence that any developer was aware of the bug, or abusing the API, and that it found no evidence that any profile data was misused.

Users who connect third-party apps with Google will get more granular control over what data gets shared.

However, Google will continue to use Google+ for Enterprise purposes as an internal social network for companies rather than for consumers, saying that it is the most popular use of the social network.

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Google has made a decision to shut down the consumer version of its failed social network Google+. No developer exploited the vulnerability or misused data, the company's review found.

The report alleges that the bug became active in 2015, only being discovered by Google and shut down in March of this year.

Besides low usage, Google+ engagement rates are also defeating, with 90-percent of all sessions lasting for under five seconds, according to Alphabet's subsidiary.

The issue apparently came about when a user granted permission to an app, allowing it to access their public data. Google is also following from its limiting of Gmail scans by limiting which applications - namely, down to email apps - can do so. The company was the target of a massive class action lawsuit in the United Kingdom after 4 million users had their personal data collected and allegedly used for targeted advertising.

For Google, a data privacy reckoning may finally come as a result of a service that it admits nearly no one uses much anymore.

Google+ was, of course, Google's response to Facebook that never quite caught on with consumers.

So a group of the company's executives ruled that the firm should stay quiet about the flaw, and reportedly informed Sundar Pichai, Google's CEO, of their decision.

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