Google announced Monday it is shutting down its online social network Google+ after fixing a bug exposing private data in as many as 500,000 accounts.
The US internet giant said it will “sunset” the Google+ social network for consumers that failed to gain meaningful traction after being launched in 2011 as a challenge to Facebook.
A Google spokesperson cited “significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers’ expectations” along with “very low usage” as the reasons for the move.
In March, a security audit revealed a software bug that gave third-party apps access to Google+ private profile data people meant to share only with friends.
Google said it was unable to confirm which accounts were affected by the bug, but an analysis indicated it could have been as many as 500,000 Google+ accounts.
“We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any profile data was misused,” Google said in a blog post.
It was referring to application programming interface software for the social network.
The data involved was limited to optional profile fields, including name, age, gender, occupation and email address, Google said.
Information that could be accessed did not include posts, messages or telephone numbers, a spokesperson said.