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Google+ to shut down early after new bug bites 52.2 million users

This bug -- separate from another disclosed in October -- apparently pushed Google to move up the service's end date from August to April.

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Google+ is closing down several months earlier than previously announced.

Getty

A bug in Google+ affects 52.2 million users, Google said Monday.

The bug is separate from another one the company disclosed in October that affected 500,000 users of the social network. 

As part of the October announcement, Google said it would shut down the consumer version of the social network in August. On Monday, the search giant said it has moved up the closure date to April. 

The bug disclosed Monday was introduced after a software update in November, Google said. It gave outside developers access to user data for six days. However, the company said there's "no evidence" that any third party compromised Google's systems or misused the data. The personal information that was exposed was from people's Google+ profiles, including names, ages and occupations. Google said that no passwords, financial data or national identification numbers were exposed. 

"We understand that our ability to build reliable products that protect your data drives user trust," David Thacker, vice president of product management for Google's G Suite products, said in a blog post. "We continue to invest in our privacy programs to refine internal privacy review processes, create powerful data controls, and engage with users, researchers, and policymakers to get their feedback and improve our programs."

News of the latest bug comes after Google announced in October a Google+ vulnerability that exposed the personal data of up to 500,000 people who used the site between 2015 and March 2018. Google remained silent about the problem for months and only came clean after a report in The Wall Street Journal. Google said it decided against disclosing the glitch because the problem didn't meet internal "thresholds" for alerting the public.  

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is scheduled to testify Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee in Washington, DC, where he is expected to be grilled on, among other things, data collection and user privacy.

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