Google Inc. has announced the closure of most of its social networking platform (Google Plus), after the exposure of large numbers of users to disclose.
Google said a security vulnerability that made data about half a million users available to a third party.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the company has been aware of the problem since last March but has not disclosed it.
According to the report, a software bug on the social networking site gave outside developers access to private account data between 2015 and March 2018 when internal investigators discovered the problem and repaired it.
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The company said in a statement that the problem was not so serious as to announce.
“Our privacy and data office has reviewed the case to see the quality of the leaked data and whether its owners can be identified to inform them or is there evidence of abuse or is there a procedure that a developer or user can do in response to what happened,” the statement said.
“We did not find evidence that any developer was aware of this flaw or misused the application interface, and we did not find evidence of abuse of any personal data,” the statement said.
A failed attempt
The Google Plus platform was launched in 2011, and was soon seen by some as a failed attempt to compete with Facebook.
Now, after many years of predicting its closure, Google is making the move.
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The company said it will continue to provide the Google Plus platform for companies that are currently using it.
“This platform has not seen much public demand, and the interaction with its application is limited,” wrote Ben Smith, Google’s vice president of engineering at Blog.
In the past, the company has been cautious about disclosing the volume of Google Plus’s use, but now, with the leak of private data, it is keen to downplay the importance of this platform.
The company said that “the use of this platform and interaction is limited, as 90 percent of the visits do not exceed the duration of 5 seconds.”
Shares in Alphabit, Google’s parent company, fell 1.23 percent.