Security

Google Shuts Down Google+ Following Exposure of User Data

google+-exposed-user-data
Credit: Pixabay

According to a report coming in from The Wall Street Journal, it seems like Google exposed private data belonging to hundreds of thousands of users that accessed the Google+ social network but, instead of doing something about it, the company chose to stay silent, fearing regulatory scrutiny and damage to the company’s reputation.

The exposed data includes full names, email addresses, occupation, photos and more.

It appears that the problem has been around since 2015 and Google only found out about it this year, in March. The company had the choice to tell the users about it but simply decided against it, since it was not legally required of them to do so.

Their excuse when the exposure became public? That they have found no evidence that the data had been misused. Do they have any way of making sure that did not happen? Not really. 

Google’s knee-jerk reaction to the entire mess was to just shut down Google+ completely and blame the move on low user engagement. The services it provides will still be available privately but only for the businesses that are still currently using the software.

“It [Google+] has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps.”

Ben Smith, Google Vice President of Engineering

In the past, Google has not been eager to share Google+’s usage data but in the aftermath of the exposed data problem, they’ve come clean with the fact that “90% of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.”

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