The social network shuts down in disgrace

IT WAS not a good way to go. On October 8th Google said it was closing Google+, a social network that it had launched in 2011. On the face of it, that hardly matters: Google+ is a ghost town. Although the network notionally has hundreds of millions of users, Google itself admits that 90% of visits last less than five seconds. Few will miss it. The internet-search and advertising giant plans to resurrect some version of it for internal use in companies.

Less important than the fact of its closure, though, was the manner. The announcement came hours after the Wall Street Journal revealed that, in March, Google had discovered a bug in Google+’s code. Information that around half a million users had marked as private was nevertheless made visible to their friends and through them to more than 400 third-party apps.

Both the nature of the bug and its timing are significant. The bug has echoes of the way in which Cambridge Analytica, a British...



via Business Feeds

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