Google+ to be shut down after security breach exposed user data

Google parent company Alphabet will permanently shut down all consumer functionalities of its Google+ social network after a bug allowed outside developers to access user data, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Here are four things to know:

1. Google chose not to disclose the security breach in spring 2018, which exposed hundreds of thousands of Google+ users, in part because of regulatory and reputation threats. The company found no evidence the breached data was misused.  

2. A software glitch in the social network site allowed outside developers to potentially access personal data from Google+ profiles between 2015 and March 2018, according to Forbes contributor Kate O'Flaherty. An internal memo at the company raised concerns that publicizing the breach would lead to "regulatory interest" and comparisons to Facebook after its scandal with Cambridge Analytica.                                    

3. Google said the problem was resolved in March 2018. The Google+ shutdown is part of new data privacy measures the company outlined in an Oct. 8 blog post.

4. "In the coming months, we'll roll out additional controls and update policies across more of our [application programming interfaces]. As we do so, we'll work with our developer partners to give them appropriate time to adjust and update their apps and services," according to the blog post.

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