Google said on Monday that it is closing it’s “Google Plus” social network following the discovery of a software glitch this past spring that may have exposed user information of up to 500,000 customers between 20015 and 2018. Ben Smith, Google’s vice president of engineering, confirmed in a blog post the company had detected a “bug” in March that impacted the profiles of as many as 500,000 Google Plus users. While it immediately fixed the security flaw, Google executives opted not to disclose the problem at the time because they feared trouble from regulators after the criticism encountered by Facebook over its privacy issues. The Google Plus data potentially exposed includes names, email addresses, occupations, dates of birth, genders and profile photos. According to Google, 438 third-party applications may have used the application programming interface that allowed possible access to the data. The company will wind down the Google Plus network during a 10-month period expected to be done by the end of next August. Meanwhile, news of the shutting down of Google Plus sent shares down $9.35, or 0. 8 percent, to $1,148.00, on Monday.
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