Google+ is shutting down sooner than initially announced after a discovered bug in a new software update compromised private information of more than 52 million users.
Google revealed through a blog post that a bug from a November update of the social network paved the way for millions of users' valuable data, including name, occupation, address, and age, to be vulnerable to developers. What's more was that knowledgeable individuals could still access an account even if it was set on private.
The company only saw the problem after six days, Nov. 7 to Nov. 13, since the latest update during a routine testing. It said that the issue was fixed within a week later. Although the problem may be solved now, it is worth noting that this was the second time the social network made the users' information accessible of late.
"[W]e have no evidence that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way," Google disclaimed in a blog post written by vice president of project management David Thacker.
Apart from the developers gaining access to private Google+ profiles, the bug allowed apps to obtain profiles that weren't shared publicly but were shared with another user. Despite the official's clarification that there was no compromise of data found, it said "some users were impacted."
Earlier Data Leak
In October, the company revealed that a bug leaked vital information of over 500,000 Google+ accounts, inadvertently exposing the data to app developers. The issue was found in March this year but was believed to have exposed details for three years. Moreover, it was only disclosed seven months after, resulting to a growing uproar on the company's stance on transparency.
As a result of this vulnerability and alleged low usage, Google dramatically announced that it will be shutting down Google+ in August 2019. However, the company said that with the recent light of events, it will have to expedite the closure four months earlier than initially mentioned, citing the utmost concern for the users. Meanwhile, Google+ APIs will be out for 90 days.
Google said it started informing customers that were affected and revealed the company would be helping make the transition seamless and safe for their protection. Furthermore, it reiterated that the tantamount priority is given to the trust provided by the users, and therefore, they will continue their commitment to investing in privacy programs.