“We will share more information in the coming days”.
Google+ never caught on as a social network. March was when a software bug was fixed that allowed third-party developers to access personal data. Google was afraid it, too, would become the center of attention following Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, and as such chose not to disclose the information to its users.
“It seems like the downside risk of having a story that says they intentionally hid information about a major breach from users is bigger than the upside of avoiding scrutiny”, said Geoffrey Parker, an engineering professor at Ivy League college Dartmouth. The company was the target of a massive class action lawsuit in the United Kingdom after 4 million users had their personal data collected and allegedly used for targeted advertising.
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A woman and her child play on a Google sign in Shanghai.
Google will “sunset” the Google+ social network in an operation called Project Strobe for consumers that failed to gain meaningful traction after being launched in 2011 as a challenge to Facebook. The change makes it so users must individually grant or deny each permission to access data in their consumer Google account, rather than accept or deny permissions all at the same time. Google is also keeping the site up for enterprise users that rely on Google+ for a bit longer.
The data involved was limited to optional profile fields, including name, age, gender, occupation and email address, Google said.
Google’s plan to withdraw the free version of Google+, scheduled for August, could help strengthen its case to USA policymakers and regulators that it is different from Facebook, which has faced political heat over allegations that data belonging to 87 million of its users was improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
CEO Sundar Pichai was reportedly informed of the decision to not tell users after it had already been made by an internal committee.
The leaked memo says that while there is no evidence that outside developers misused any data, there is still no way to know for sure. Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) closed the day at $1,155.92 per share, off more than 10 percent off its 52-week high of $1,291.44. This method will better secure third party APIs with Google services, allowing for less data to be given to outside applications.
“Every data mishap strengthens the bipartisan case for Congress to take action on data protection”, said Jonathan Mayer, an assistant professor at Princeton University who formerly worked in the Federal Communications Commission’s enforcement bureau.