Google will close most of its failing social media platform Google+ and implement several new privacy measures after discovering that hundreds of thousands of users potentially had their personal data exposed because of a previously undisclosed software bug, the company announced Monday.
The company did a review of its third party developer access to Google accounts and Android device data and found a bug in the Google + People APIs.
Google said it would "wind-down" the consumer version of the website over the next 10 months, with 90% of users accessing the site for less than five seconds.
The Journal published excerpts from an explosive internal memo, in which Google's legal and policy staff advised the company's executives to stay quiet about the issue after it was discovered by internal investigators in March. Google said that it also found no evidence that any of the developers behind the 438 applications that used the API in question were aware of the bug.
Google has denied the newspaper's accusations, saying it determined its course of action based on the data involved in the breach, lack of evidence of data misuse and the challenge of determining precisely how many and which users were affected.
But it's not doing so exclusively out of concern for users' privacy: Smith admitted the network is not a success, saying "The consumer version of Google+ now has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds".
Allegations of the improper use of data for 87 million Facebook users by Cambridge Analytica, which was hired by US President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign, has hurt the shares of the world's biggest social network and prompted multiple official investigations in the United States and Europe. Google also said that there is no evidence that and Profile data was misused.
They said the firm would now "sunset" the app, which failed to truly challenge market leader Facebook, citing "very low usage".
Google today revealed it'd be shutting down the consumer version of Google+ in response to a previously undisclosed security flaw - and also because no one's really using it. However, Google claims that this vulnerability went unnoticed and apparently no third-party was able to exploit the vulnerability to access user date.
Google has declined to comment on why it held off reporting the breach. The campaign, titled "Don't Shut Down Google Plus", has more than 8,000 signatures at the time of writing.