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

Nichole VegaOct 11, 2018

In the post, Google announced it was closing down the service after the Wall Street Journal revealed the company had known about the bug, which affected all Google+ users, since March this year. 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.

Up to 438 apps used the application programming interface (API) that gave access to Profile data such as users' name, email address, occupation, gender and age.

Google reports that it found no evidence that any developer was aware of the bug, or that any abuse occurred. An internal review called Project Strobe discovered a bug in one of the site's APIs which granted access to information on a users' profile which hadn't been marked as public.

Google also announced that, in addition to shutting down Google+, it's revamping its account permissions to allow users to pick and choose which data they share with third-party apps.

The review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers' expectations.

The shutdown of the consumer version of the service will be completed over the next 10 months and the platform will be completely buried in August 2019. The campaign, titled "Don't Shut Down Google Plus", has more than 8,000 signatures at the time of writing.

"The story here isn't really the potential data breach (which may affected hundreds of thousands) or that Google is shutting down Google+", proclaimed Mac. Google executives were concerned about appearances, particularly as Facebook is under fire after an analytics firm allegedly misused the data of tens of millions of users.

This issue has existed 2015 until Google found out about it in March 2018 and made a decision to fix it. Google then had a choice to inform its users but chose not to because it wasn't legally required to and secondly, because it would draw regulatory attention towards itself.

When Google+ launched in 2011, it was envisioned as a possible rival to Facebook, The Associated Press reported.

These actions are only the beginning, with Google advising they will roll out additional controls and update their policies across more APIs in the coming months.

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