Alphabet Inc's Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users of its Google+ social network and opted not to disclose the issue partly due to fears of regulatory scrutiny, the Wall Street Journal said, citing unnamed sources. The measures are part of what Google is calling Project Strobe, which is "a root-and-branch review of third-party developer access to Google account and Android device data and of our philosophy around apps' data access". Google claims that they didn't tell its users because they believed that without sufficient information on who was hacked, they found it wouldn't be useful to identify the public on the matter. 'None of these thresholds were met in this instance.
The Wall Street Journal separately reported Monday that Google executives delayed announcing problems with Google+ because of concerns about its reputation and the danger of sparking new pushes for regulation. In addition, 438 third-party applications may have used the application programming interface, or API, that allowed possible access to the data, according to Google.
Project Strobe will also lead to Google account holders getting more fine-grained controls over the data they share with apps, which now have overly broad access to user information, Google said.
"We chose to sunset the consumer version of Google+", the company said in the post.
The company went on to say that the bug, and the "very low usage of the consumer version of Google+', has made the company decide to 'sunset" the consumer version of the social network.
The company says it didn't find any evidence that any of the affected personal information was misused. The flaw exposed user data from 2015 until this past March, according to the report.
"Going forward, consumers will get more fine-grained control over what account data they choose to share with each app", Google said.
What are your views on this development?
Google has even admitted that no one actually uses Google+.
Google did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.
Google+ is finally shutting down on a particularly sour note.