Australia’s competition watchdog recommended a new regulator to check the dominance of Facebook and Google in their online advertising and news markets. Photo: File

CAPE TOWN – Google’s social media platform Google+ announced that it has experienced yet another data leak, which resulted in the platform shutting down 4 months earlier than planned. 

The company announced the security flaw in a blog post, stating that the personal information of 52.5 million users and that not only will it discontinue the service but also its API due to “significant challenges” involved in maintaining the product.

Google said in a statement: "We’ve recently determined that some users were impacted by a software update introduced in November that contained a bug affecting a Google+ API. We discovered this bug as part of our standard and ongoing testing procedures and fixed it within a week of it being introduced. No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way.

"With the discovery of this new bug, we have decided to expedite the shut-down of all Google+ APIs; this will occur within the next 90 days. In addition, we have also decided to accelerate the sunsetting of consumer Google+ from August 2019 to April 2019. While we recognize there are implications for developers, we want to ensure the protection of our users."

Google acknowledged the platform’s low adoption and said it would discontinue it in the next 90 days.

The company stated that is has its testing revealed that a Google+ API was not operating as intended but It further noted that their investigation into the impact of the bug is ongoing. 

"We fixed the bug promptly and began an investigation into the issue", said Google.

Data that might have been exposed include names, email addresses, occupation, age, and other personal information.

Google said it fixed the bug promptly and found no evidence that app developers misused this security flaw in any way.