The social ghost town that is Google+ is finally being shut down by Google but only after it was revealed a massive data breach that exposed users personal data hit the social media service.
In what could be Google’s own version of the Cambridge Analytica scandal the Wall Street Journal reports that a security bug allowed third-party developers to access users personal profile data since 2015. The issue was finally patched by Google in March, and instead of opting to inform users about it they kept quiet, fearing scrutiny and cause damage to its reputation. In a memo, the company stated it’s reasons for not “us coming into the spotlight alongside or even instead of Facebook despite having stayed under the radar throughout the Cambridge Analytica scandal,”
Google does states that it has no evidence that the data was misused by the 438 apps that could have had access to it. Among the personal information potentially exposed from the now-defunct social media tool’s 496,951 users and their friends’include birth dates, full names, relationship statuses, gender, places live, profile photos and occupations.
If Google was worried about what would happen if the information was released back then imagine the fallout now that is coming its way. The WSJ does state Google plans to announce new privacy measures in response to the data breach. The changes include no longer involving third-party apps access to Android phones call logs, SMS data, and some contact information. Gmail will have new restrictions as well only allowing a few developers the ability to build add-ons for the service.
Google+’s death will be a slow one, the company will cease consumer services over and kill the service over a 10 month period allowing users to transfer over the data if they choose too. Google does plan to keep G+ around for enterprise users by refocusing it for that sole purpose.
One thing is sure, Google will definitely have some explaining to do, this will not just go away.
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