Google+ gets the axe after exposing users’ private info

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Google has permanently shut down its Google+ social network after a software glitch gave outside developers potential access to private user data, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The profile data that was exposed included full names, email addresses, birth dates, gender, profile photos, places lived, occupation and relationship status; it didn't include phone numbers, email messages, timeline posts, direct messages or any other type of communication data.

Google+, Google's social network website, will be shutting down after a bug made the personal information of up to 500,000 people exposed.

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Despite some news outlets focusing on Google+ shutting down, or on the data exposure itself, BuzzFeed News tech reporter Ryan Mac expressed that the real story was the company's response.

Now, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, and internal memo at Google warned that going public about the data leak would attract "immediate regulatory interest". The company does say that it found no evidence to show that any developer was aware of the bug or that any profile data was misued. Google is also following from its limiting of Gmail scans by limiting which applications - namely, down to email apps - can do so.

Those who are very panicked may find solace in the fact that Google did state that the firm only keeps API log data for two weeks. One of the findings that stemmed from Project Strobe was that the consumer version of Google+ was no longer worth maintaining. Google CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly is expected to take the hot seat in another congressional hearing after the U.S. midterm elections in November.

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The bug meant that apps also had access to Profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public.

Google took a one-two punch to the chin today by having to admit its once ballyhooed Facebook competitor is a dud. According to market research company Statista, the Google platform does not feature anywhere in the top 20 list of most famous social media sites based on active users as of July 2018.

Google said up to 500,000 users had been affected. The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: "90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds".

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"The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds", said Google, which is headquartered in Mountain View in northern California, Xinhua reported.