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Goodbye Google+: Privacy breach spells end of social network

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Goodbye Google+: Privacy breach spells end of social network
Google announced that it will shut down Google+ after finding a bug that exposed user information to third-party developers. Photo by lightpoet/Shutterstock/UPI

Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Google will be shutting down Google+ over a 10-month period after disclosing a glitch that allowed outside developers to access private information.

More than 500,000 Google+ users could have had their names, email addresses, occupation, gender and age compromised. Google+ posts, messages, phone numbers or G Suite data were not compromised, the company said.

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The data was exposed to more than 400 third-party users.

"We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API and we found no evidence that any profile data was misused," Ben Smith, Google's vice president of engineering, wrote in a blog.

Beyond the security problems, Google acknowledged in the post Monday its social media network never achieved widespread adoption like Twitter and Facebook.

"The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds," Smith said.

Google found the bug while reviewing third-party access to Google account and Android device data.

Google plans to limit which Android apps are allowed to ask for permission to access text and call log data.

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The Irish Data Protection Commission wants more information on the security glitch.

"The DPC was not aware of this issue and we not need to better understand the details of the breach, including the nature, impact and risk to individuals and we will be seeking information on these issues from Google," a spokesman said.

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