A Google Plus shut down is reportedly in-the-works, as the search giant seeks to right its actions after an alleged cover-up of a data breach…
A security bug allowed third-party developers to gain free access to nearly half-a-million users’ Google+ profile information since 2015, The Wall Street Journal reports. Although Google discovered the problem in March of this year, it has yet to inform users of the breach.
Google Plus Shut Down Announcement Expected Soon
When users gave permission to an app to access their Google+ profile data, a bug let developers also pull data from connected friends. In all, 496,951 users’ full names, email addresses, birth dates, genders, profile photos, places lived, occupations, and relationship statuses were potentially exposed. However, Google maintains it does not have any evidence any of that stolen data was indeed misused.
According to an internal memo, Google did not tell its users because it might have lead to “…us coming into the spotlight alongside or even instead of Facebook despite having stayed under the radar throughout the Cambridge Analytica scandal.”
The WSJ report also reveals the search company will announce a plethora of new privacy reforms, ostensibly today. These include prohibitions of third-party developers access to Android phone SMS data call logs, and some contact information. Additionally, Gmail will likewise restrict building add-ons for a small percentage of developers.
As part of its reforms, Google will also announce the entire shut down of Google Plus. But, the company might still face action from governmental agencies in the U.S. and abroad. It could also be hit with class-action lawsuits, along with sizable public backlash.