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Google Plus shutting down as social network bug exposes private data

11 October 2018

Google on Monday said it has made a decision to shut down its social media network, Google+. But Google says it has no way of confirming these numbers or which users may have had their data exposed improperly.

"None of these thresholds were met here", they said.

Following the announcement, shares in Google's parent company Alphabet Inc were down 1.5% in response to the privacy issues.

The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous individuals, reports that Google deliberately avoided disclosing the problem at the time, in part to avoid drawing regulatory scrutiny. Thankfully, according to Google, no developer was aware of the bug, was misusing the Google+ API, or had misused private data from users' profiles.

A spokeswoman for Google said that whenever user data may have been affected it determines whether to tell people based on a number of criteria.

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The closure is only partial, however: While consumers will find Google+'s doors firmly locked, enterprise customers will be able to continue to use the service - should they so choose - with new features 'purpose-built for businesses'. Google also said that there is no evidence that and Profile data was misused.

Google+, like Google's previous social networking efforts Orkut, Dodgeball, Jaiku, Lively, and Buzz, was not a stellar success for the company.

Google says it began reviewing developer access at the start of this year, so these new policies might have arrived even without the WSJ's reporting.

Although Google discovered and patched the potential data leak in March 2018, the company initially opted not to publicize it.

"The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than 5 seconds".

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Google could also face class-action lawsuits over its decision not to disclose the incident, according to the Journal. Now the bug in this API allowed access to private Profile fields of users to the Google+ apps.

"If you have a Google tattoo on you, then these are the phones for you", IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said of the Pixel's limited appeal so far.

In addition to shutting down Google+, Google also said that it will limit the access it gives to developers to user data on Android devices and Gmail.

Google+ is finally shutting down on a particularly sour note.

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Google Plus shutting down as social network bug exposes private data