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Google+ to shut down early after new bug bites 52.2 million users

11 December, 2018, 02:16 | Author: Vicki Mclaughlin
  • Google Plus closure accelerated due to API bug

"We've recently determined that some users were impacted by a software update introduced in November that contained a bug affecting a Google+ API", the company wrote. The personal information that was exposed was from people's Google+ profiles, including names, ages and occupations.

Google claims the flaw was only active for six days and that developers with access to the specific API were not aware of the exposed data or have done nothing with it. It is also poised to come up when Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies before Congress on Tuesday.

Google Plus (Google+) was one of Google's most ambitious social network projects. Google+ was slated for closure (to consumers) in August 2019, but unfortunately for the platform's remaining users, Google has bumped that date up by four months to April.

Google said it encountered the bug as part of its "standard and ongoing testing procedures" and fixed it within a week of its discovery.

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"No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way", said Google. The company will begin notifying affected users but insisted no financial data, passwords or national identification numbers were left vulnerable.

The company was originally going to shut the service down in August of 2019, but in light of this latest API bug, Google has made a decision to expedite the shutdown process and wrap things up in April 2019.

Google is expected to shut down Google+ APIs in the next 90 days, and it will now be shutting down the service itself much earlier than expected. At the time, it said profile data from up to 500,000 users might have been exposed to partner apps by a bug that was present for more than two years. This means that any apps or services that requested permission to view a user's profile information were granted access, even if the account was set to private. "We continue to invest in our privacy programs to refine internal privacy review processes, create powerful data controls, and engage with users, researchers, and policymakers to get their feedback and improve our programs".

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