Google+ shutdown speeds up, new privacy bug affected 52.5 million users

Google+ to shut down early after leak exposes 52m users

Google says it's now reaching out to users impacted, and it'll continue to offer tools to those who want to save or migrate their data. The vulnerability possibly exposed profile information like names, email addresses, occupations, and ages to developers. Back in October, the company disclosed that it had discovered and patched a bug that allowed application developers to access personal data earlier this year. Google signed a consent decree with the FTC in 2011 to settle allegations that an earlier social media platform, Google Buzz, mishandled user data. Google also said at the time that it planned to gradually wind down the service to consumers over a 10-month period to give them a lengthy window to transition to other services. Even though there was no evidence that anyone took advantage of the API bug, Google decided it would be as good a time as ever to shut down the mostly-dead social network.

Whoever's doing that might want to do it fast - there's no telling when the next security bug will come along and force Google to accelerate the shutdown even more.

Going forward, Google plans to shutter the Google+ 3rd party accessible API's in the next 90 days and eventually turn out the lights to the consumer facing portion of the platform in April 2019 instead of the August 2019 date it revealed after the first breach. Apps could also access the aforementioned profile information that was shared with another user but was not shared publicly. It's estimated that upwards of 52 million users were affected by this leak. As a result of that, the company also announced it would be shutting down the service in late 2019.

The API in question would have allowed developers to see information that users had set to private.

Google said it encountered the bug as part of its "standard and ongoing testing procedures" and fixed it within a week of its discovery. "No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the developers who inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way".

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