Google+ closure brought forward after discovery of new bug

Heather Parry

By Heather Parry

11 December 2018

In October, Google announced the shutdown of the their ill-fated social media network Google+, which despite its original intentions to rival Facebook never gained the traction the company expected.

The decision to close the network was brought on, according to the Wall Street Journal, by the revelation that “Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users of the Google+ social network and then opted not to disclose the issue this past spring, in part because of fears that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and cause reputational damage.”

Now, Google have brought forward the shutdown of Google+, apparently due to the discovery of yet another bug—impacting at least 52.5 million users.

The new issue is said to involve another API bug affecting permissions, and Google addressed this in a software update last month.

Vice president of product management for Google’s G-Suite, David Thacker, said in a blog post:

We’ve recently determined that some users were impacted by a software update introduced in November that contained a bug affecting a Google+ API. We discovered this bug as part of our standard and ongoing testing procedures and fixed it within a week of it being introduced.

With the discovery of this new bug, we have decided to expedite the shut-down of all Google+ APIs; this will occur within the next 90 days. In addition, we have also decided to accelerate the sunsetting of consumer Google+ from August 2019 to April 2019. While we recognize there are implications for developers, we want to ensure the protection of our users.

However, Thacker also went to some lengths to ensure users that this bug was not, as yet, found to have affected their privacy:

No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way.

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