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

Google exposed personal data of almost 500,000 and didn't disclose it

Google neglected to report the breach to the public, allegedly out of fear that the company would face regulations and damage to its reputation, according to sources and documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal.

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai has agreed to testify before Congress in the coming weeks, according to the Journal.

Project Strobe will also lead to Google account holders getting more fine-grained controls over the data they share with apps, which now have overly broad access to user information, Google said. Google explained that there was indeed a glitch that could allow developers to access private profile information, including a user's name, email address, occupation, gender, age, and profile photo.

Users who connect third-party apps with Google will get more granular control over what data gets shared. It also provided information for people that you're connected to on the social network, even if that information was marked as private.

The company did a review of its third party developer access to Google accounts and Android device data and found a bug in the Google + People APIs. The bug appears to have been active between 2015 and 2018. Up to 496,951 users could have been affected, and up to 438 apps could have accessed the data.

Meanwhile, Google planned to add new workplace-oriented features to enhance the appeal of Google+ as a "secure corporate social network" to be used inside business operations.




The news comes just two weeks after Facebook revealed almost 50m users had been affected by a similar privacy lapse.

Following this report being published, Google announced that it found the security hole in part thanks to something the company is calling Project Strobe. The US internet giant said that 90% of Google+ user sessions lasted only five seconds long or less. Google said it hadn't found any evidence that "any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any profile data was misused". That said, social media is the business where Google has failed to mark its presence.

Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to President Donald Trump's campaign, accessed information from as many as 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge.

As a part of the announcement of the breach, Google has chose to implement more fine-grained permissions for accessing user data from apps.

The company also admitted the low engagement statistics of Google+.

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