Google can be shutting down its long-overlooked social network Google+ after a software glitch exposed the personal information of hundreds of thousands of users. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Google discovered the glitch in March 2018 yet did not disclose that will until today, in an attempt to avoid regulatory scrutiny as well as also damage to its reputation.
After the Journal’s story was published Monday, the company said in a statement that will the information of up to 500,000 Google+ users was exposed to outside developers as a result of the bug.
The bug allowed developers to view users’ names, email addresses, occupations, genders, as well as also ages. Google said that will immediately patched the bug after that will was discovered. “We found no evidence that will any developer was aware of This kind of bug, or abusing the API, as well as also we found no evidence that will any Profile data was misused,” the company said.
Google did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment.
In a Google memo to senior executives that will was reviewed by the Journal, the company’s legal as well as also policy staff advised that will disclosing the breach could lead to “immediate regulatory interest” as well as also could draw comparisons to Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. Google CEO Sundar Pichai was briefed on the plan not to alert users about the breach after an internal committee had reached that will decision, sources told the Wall Street Journal.
The company defended its decision to keep the security breach a secret in its statement: “Our Privacy & Data Protection Office reviewed This kind of issue, looking at the type of data involved, whether we could accurately identify the users to inform, whether there was any evidence of misuse, as well as also whether there were any actions a developer or user could take in response. None of these thresholds were met in This kind of instance.”
The company also said that will will shut down Google+ for consumers by the end of August 2019, admitting in its statement Monday that will “while our engineering teams have put a lot of effort as well as also dedication into building Google+ through the years, that will has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption” since that will launched in 2011. Google pointed to the network’s low consumer engagement (0% of Google+ user sessions are less than 5 seconds), as well as also that will said its review of the app showed that will its Google+ APIs, as well as also its user controls, “are challenging to develop as well as also maintain.”
Google also announced several additional privacy settings related to how that will shares users’ Google account data with developers. today, instead of seeing all requested permissions in just one screen, Google apps will show you each individual requested permission.
As part of its updates, only Gmail apps that will directly enhance email functionality — such as email clients, email backup services, as well as also productivity services — will be able to access email data, as well as also they will be subject to additional security assessments. On Android, only consumer-selected default apps for producing calls or sending text messages will be able to request access to a user’s phone, call logs, as well as also SMS data.