After seven years, Google+ is now shutting its doors after information exposure
By admin October 11, 2018

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Google has announced that it would shut down Google Plus, the competitor to Facebook’s social network after discovering a security vulnerability that exposed the private data of over 500,000 users. The security breach that occurred in March was kept under wraps because it didn’t appear that anyone had gained access to user information and per Google’s “Privacy & Data Protection Office,” it was not legally required to report it. Because of the vulnerability, any outside developer was able to access the username, occupation, gender, and age of users however, they did not have access to phone numbers, messages or Google Plus posts. The vulnerability was quickly fixed in an update made in March.

The decision to stay quiet raised many ethical questions within the cybersecurity community especially because of new regulations in California and Europe that mandate a company disclose all security episodes. In May, the European Union adopted new General Data Protection Regulation laws that require companies to disclose to regulators of any potential leaks of personal information within 72 hours. California passed a privacy law that goes into effect in 2020 allowing consumers to sue for up to $750 billion in the event of a data breach.

Google’s decision to go public with the exposure has made the company vulnerable to additional scrutiny and that the likelihood of Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, would most likely be called to testify in front of Congress. Echoing a similar story in early 2018, Facebook also acknowledged that Cambridge Analytica, a British research organization that performed work for the Trump campaign, had improperly gained access to personal information of up to 87 million users. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent two days testifying in congressional hearings regarding the matter.

Google Plus was meant to be a Facebook rival, linking users to various Google products including its search engine and YouTube, but has failed to catch on. Despite only a handful of users, many are sad to see it go and have even started petitions to bring it back. Supporters of the platform felt that Google Plus was superior to Facebook since the platform lacked the drama, or more simply, was a space where people could connect. However, as we have seen from other platforms, connecting the entire world is no easy feat.


Further Reading:

Life among the last Google+ users

Google to shut down Google Plus after failing to disclose a data break

Google+ is shutting down, and the site’s few loyal users are mourning

Is the Google Plus data breach a threat to Google’s business?

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