Written by – Ranuli at Omebiz
Don’t you feel like we are hearing these words more and more every day?
In just the past couple of years, there have been several massive data breaches of social media sites that millions of people use across the globe. In most cases, the data that was stolen was encrypted and inaccessible, however, the more sensitive information for millions of users–like email addresses or phone numbers– was available to the highest bidder.
Perhaps the biggest data scandal in recent memory would be Facebook’s data breach that occurred just a few weeks ago with over 50 million users influenced. The company still hasn’t been able to uncover as to who the hackers were and what they were looking for.
Hackers were also able to gain control of accounts on many other sites, such as Spotify because users often log into them with Facebook credentials. The attackers exploited a gap in the code around a feature known as “View As,” which lets people see how their profile appears to others.
In the same vein, Facebook faced a similar breach just a few months ago in April where 87 million Facebook profiles were sold without the user’s knowledge to the research firm Cambridge Analytica, a British research organization that had performed work for the Trump campaign.
500,000 users data left unprotected by Google Plus!
The glitch that Google didn’t want you to know about was exposed just last week! Google Plus, Google’s social network that was meant to rival Facebook, was apparently left vulnerable.
Google says it found a bug that meant the private data of over 500,000 users was illegally shared without consent by a number of developers.
The vulnerable data includes Profile names, email addresses, occupation, gender and age. Google claims that any other data that was posted or connected to Google+ such as Google+ posts, messages, account data, phone numbers and G Suite content remains secure.
Why did Google remain quiet about the breach?
However, Google chose to remain quiet and not disclose the news for a number of months which left a large number of profiles vulnerable. Google states that it was legally not bound to share this vulnerability as there was no breach.
Although Google released an official statement that none of the data was mishandled, this issue will most likely lead to investigations in the US and in Europe, which means that Google will have some very busy months in the future.
Who will be affected by the shutdown?
In addition, Google Official’s also chose to shut down Google+ due to its lack of users on the platform. When the social media network was launched in 2011, people across the internet were already using Facebook and Twitter as their main social media platforms, both receiving a surge in the number of users. This meant that Google+ had a hefty competition when it came to attracting and retaining users on their platform.
In the past few years, Google+ has become a social media platform that caters to specific niches, becoming an alternative platform that is less crowded but has a more passionate community.
While many social media users across the world wouldn’t be too concerned with Google+ shutting down, the small passionate communities in the soon-to-be-gone platform are now looking for a new social media platform where they can restore the sense of community.
How to export your data using Takeout?
Google+ will be shutting down in 10 months time. To help users export their data out of the platform, Google has implemented a service called Takeout. All you have to do is to log-in to your Google Account and begin the process of downloading your data.
You can select which datasets you would want to download, which includes, Google+, Hangouts, and +1s. Once you have selected the data, you can choose the file type and create the archive. This ensures that your data would not be permanently deleted once it shuts down.