Google discontinues support for Google + social media platform 4 months early after second security breach
Following a second security failure, Google has decided to shut down the consumer version of its social network Google + 4 months ahead of schedule. Google+ will now discontinue for consumers April 2, 2019 instead of August 2019. API access to the network is also to be shut down by March 2019.
Google has stated that the latest vulnerability impacted 52.5 million users, who may have had profile information like their name, email address, occupation, and age exposed to developers, regardless of privacy settings. Apps could also access profile data that had been shared with a specific user, even if that data was not shared publicly. The leak was discovered by Google and was live for six days between November 7th and November 13th.
“WITH THE DISCOVERY OF THIS NEW BUG, WE HAVE DECIDED TO EXPEDITE THE SHUT-DOWN OF ALL GOOGLE+ APIs.”
In October of last year, a similar Google+ vulnerability exposed private user data to developers for as long as three years. The bug was discovered in March 2018, but not publicly announced until October 2018, resulting in serious transparency concerns. Following this event, Google announced plans to shut down the consumer version of Google+, which had failed to build a solid user-base since its initial launch in 2011.
“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,” says David Thacker, Vice President of Project Management at Google. “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.”
Google assures the public there is “no evidence that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it.” Google has begun notifying users and enterprise customers who were impacted by the bug.
“We understand that our ability to build reliable products that protect your data drives user trust,” Thacker added. “We have always taken this seriously, and we continue to invest in our privacy programs.” Google will continue operating Google+ as an enterprise product for companies that use its G Suite service.