Google says Google+ bug affected 52.5 million people, now shutting down four months early

Google will shut down its Google+ social network much sooner than planned after discovering a second bug that revealed millions of customers’ private information to software developers.

According to Google, the new vulnerability impacted 52.5 million users, who could have had profile information like their name, email address, occupation, and age exposed to developers, even if their account was set to private. Apps could also access profile data that had been shared with a specific user but was not shared publicly.

“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,” reads the blog post, penned by David Thacker, Google’s vice president of project management.

“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 discovered the bug as part of its standard testing procedure and says there is “no evidence that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused.” Google says it’s 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 wrote. “We have always taken this seriously, and we continue to invest in our privacy programs.” Google still plans to continue operating Google+ as an enterprise product for companies that subscribe to its G Suite service.

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