After an undisclosed security breach was revealed, Google+ will be shutting down

Gerald Bowen
October 12, 2018

However, the announcement came moments after The Wall Street Journal reported Google had opted not to disclose a bug affecting Google+ users at least in part to avoid additional regulatory scrutiny. 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. Thankfully, according to Google, no developer was aware of the bug, was misusing the Google+ API, or had misused private data from users' profiles. It took a data breach for Google to finally decide to pull the plug on the failed social network.

In addition to "sunsetting consumer Google+", the company is making changes to APIs on its other services, which will limit the amount of access developers get to data on Android and Gmail. It's also limiting said apps' ability to access private data outside of specific use cases.

"It's important for consumers to realise that connecting apps in social media platforms only increases the amount of valuable information that could potentially be breached, as well as increased attack vectors that hackers can leverage".

Google did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

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The tech company revealed the hacked profiles Monday in a statement, and said the glitch was discovered in March amid a review of just how much access third-party developers have to accounts called Project Strobe. What happened? Google discovered a bug in its Google Plus People API.

"And it raises the question: If Google hid this breach from the public, how do we know there aren't others?" "Our goal is to support a wide range of useful apps, while ensuring that everyone is confident that their data is secure".

Google also announced in the post that it will shut down the consumer version of Google+ by August 2019, citing "the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers' expectations".

But it's not doing so exclusively out of concern for users' privacy: Smith admitted the network is not a success, saying "The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds".

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