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

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

Google said Monday it is shutting down the long ailing social network Google+ for consumer use amid new scrutiny of the company for reportedly failing to publicly disclose a security bug affecting hundreds of thousands of accounts on the service. However, "We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused".

Google is at the centre of controversy this morning over a report of a massive user data breach that occurred past year, with the result that they will be introducing finer grain controls to limit access to user data on the web and Android - and also shutdown Google+ for consumers.

90 per cent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds, the company said. No developer exploited the vulnerability or misused data, the review found.

The announcement came on Monday, with Google saying in a blog post that they discovered a bug which could have allowed as many as 438 external apps to collect user names, email addresses, professions, gender and age without authorization.

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The revelation is likely to heighten the stakes of his coming appearance to testify before Congress, amid allegations that technology companies are squelching conservative voices online.

Soon after the article was published, Google engineering fellow and vice president Ben Smith disclosed the bug and Google's plans to shut down Google+ in a blog post. An internal Google memo cited by the newspaper showed that executives were anxious about the damage the news would do to Google's reputation at a time when Facebook was already under fire for mishandling customer data in the Cambridge Analytica affair.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

Google is now shuttering Google+ as a delayed response.

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Google ran an analysis over the two weeks prior to patching the bug which showed the Profiles of up to 500,000 Google+ accounts were potentially affected.

Unfortunately, whether you've forgotten about it or not, if you have a Google+ account, your data may have been put at risk. Despite integration with the company's other, hugely successful products such as Gmail, Blogger and YouTube, Google admits usage is negligible.

David C. Vladeck, former director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection and now a Georgetown Law professor, said the new Google+ incident is "obviously a problem for Google". Info like phone numbers, email messages, timeline posts, and direct messages were not surfaced by this API.

These latest changes are also being implemented as part of a larger crackdown, in which the search giant is seeking to review and curb "third-party developer access to Google account and Android device data and of our philosophy around apps' data access".

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