Google said Monday it is shutting down the long-ailing social network Google+ for consumer use amid new scrutiny of the company for reportedly failing to publicly disclose a security bug affecting users of the service.
In a blog post, the company admitted Google+ had failed to achieve “broad consumer or developer adoption” since it launched as a would-be Facebook rival in 2011. However, the announcement came moments after The Wall Street Journal reported Google had opted not to disclose a bug affecting hundreds of thousands of Google+ users at least in part to avoid additional regulatory scrutiny.
Google said in the blog post that it “discovered and immediately patched” a bug in March 2018. It said the bug could have affected up to 500,000 Google+ accounts, but the company found “no evidence” that any data was actually misused.
“Every year, we send millions of notifications to users about privacy and security bugs and issues,” a spokesperson for Google said in a statement provided to CNN Business. “Whenever user data may have been affected, we go beyond our legal requirements and apply several criteria focused on our users in determining whether to provide notice.