Google have shut down its internet-based social network, Google Plus (or Google+) following a security glitch that caused the exposure of data of almost half a million users.
The exposure of users data occurred between the period of 2015 — 2018 and was caused by a faulty API that allowed developers have access to these data. While Google mentions that the exposed data were limited to Google+ profile fields information, it says that only 438 apps made use of this API and 496,951 users may have been affected.
The above figure is barely an estimate as Google cannot exactly confirm which users or how many users’ data were affected. This is because Google keeps the API’s log data for two weeks only. Even worse is the fact that not only users who use the affected apps were exposed but also, people connected to those users.
Exposed data include users’ full names, email addresses, birth dates, gender, profile photos, places lived, occupation and relationship status. According to Google,
“It does not include any other data you may have posted or connected to Google+ or any other service, like Google+ posts, messages, Google account data, phone numbers or G Suite content.”
Although Google says it has carried out investigations into the data breach and found no evidence of data misuse by these developers, it went ahead to shut down the social network, also citing low usage and poor on-site engagement as reasons.
Adieu, Google Plus!
Due to data breaches in some apps that affected about half a million users on its social network, Google officially pulls the plug from Google Plus.