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Alphabet to shut down social media network Google

12 October 2018

The bug in question remained active between 2015 and 2018, and Google discovered it in March; during this period, the flaw affected more than 500,000 users.

"The bug in Google's developer platform on its Google Plus social network left information like a user's name, email address, occupation, gender and age vulnerable to a breach", the CNBC reported.

Google+ was heavily promoted after its 2011 launch, in the hope of overtaking Facebook in the early days of social media. Instead of reporting this to subscribers of the service, Google made a decision to just let it slide so that it wouldn't be subject to investigation by regulatory agencies.

As part of a review process surrounding this disclosure, Google has announced that Google + is going to be closed down.

In March, a security audit revealed a software bug that gave third-party apps access to Google+ private profile data people meant to share only with friends. "When an app prompts you for access to your Google account data, we always require that you see what data it has asked for, and you must grant it explicit permission", he said.

Google says that the data of half a million people was compromised, but because they only log data for two weeks, they're unable to say who was impacted.

Following this incident, the software giant has now decided that it will shut down Google+ operations for the consumers, however, it will remain as a product for enterprise users. Google CEO Sundar Pichai was informed of the plan to hide the security incident from the general public.

The company also admitted the low engagement statistics of Google+.

"The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: 90% of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds", blog post reads. But those apps look downright buoyant compared with Google's own confessed numbers for Google+.

"We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any profile data was misused", Smith said.

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".

Alphabet to shut down social media network Google