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Data Leaks And Low Usage Forces Google To Shutdown Google+ Social Networking Site

Data Leaks And Low Usage Forces Google To Shutdown Google+ Social Networking Site
Low usage and a bug that was discovered in March last year was cited as the primary reasons that the consumer version of the social networking site Google+ was is being shut down by the U.S. internet giant Google, the company announced on Monday. It was estimated that personal and other stored data of about half a million of the users of Google+ could have been compromised by the bug in the program discovered last year.
"The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds," said Mountain View, Northern California, headquartered Google.
It has been seven years that Google had launched Google+ as a social networking site of its own name brand and Google said that the platform would be shut down completely in the coming months.
One of the major reasons for the closure of the Google+ platform, according to the company, was the unearthing of the bug discovered last year. However this is the first time that the company has acknowledged the existence of the same. The company further said that some private user data to third-party developers were exposed by the bud that was placed in one of its Google+ "People APIs". The data at threat included user information such as professions and occupations, genders, ages, and email addresses of the users.
"We discovered and immediately patched this bug in March 2018," Google said. The company also acknowledged that the bug had been within the system since 2015 and there can be a potential threat to loss of data and data security for up to 500,000 Google+ users.
"Our analysis showed that up to 438 applications may have used this API," Google said. However, "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."
It was during the same time that Google discovered the vulnerability in its Google+ platform that another US based tech giant – Facebook, was at the centre of a notorious privacy leakage scandal. The largest social media network of the world was severely criticized from authorities all across the world for having failed to ensure data security of millions of its users.
And since then, the social media platform has been placed under very strict scrutiny all over the world. There was further trouble for Facebook after it was revealed that a British data mining firm Cambridge Analytica had managed to get access to data of millions of Americans through a third party who had permission to access such data. There were allegations that the company had used the data to for targeted campaigning during the recently held presidential elections in the United States.

Since then, the security and data privacy polices of the company has been scrutinized multiple times by authorities in the US and elsewhere. It is estimated that data of about 87 million Facebook users was compromised in the incident. As a result of the incident, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had to appear before the U.S. Congress for a hearing in April this year where he was asked to explain in detail the efforts that the company was making in ensuring data privacy and security.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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