Google+ data breach: What are the implications?

In what some news outlets have dubbed as Google’s ‘Cambridge Analytica moment’, it emerged yesterday that a security bug allowed third-party developers to access Google+ user profile data from 2015 until the tech giant discovered and patched it in March – yet decided not to inform the world.

Shortly after the story broke, Google announced that it will shut down consumer access to Google+ and improve privacy protections for third-party applications.

In a blog post about the shutdown, Google disclosed the data leak, which it said potentially affected up to 500,000 accounts. Up to 438 different third-party applications may have had access to private information due to the bug, but Google apparently has no way of knowing whether they did because it only maintains logs of API use for two weeks.

But what happens next? And what are the repercussions for marketers? Affiliate Industry Review break down what we know.

The next steps…

Google has already announced how it will be rebuilding Google+ as an enterprise network, claiming that “Google+ is better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network”.

The delayed disclosure of the data breach will most likely lead to greater regulatory scrutiny of the search giant’s privacy measures. Off the back of this year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent two days testifying on the social network’s data breach.

How it affects marketers…

In the aforementioned blog post, Google noted that it will let users know how to move their data to other platforms, but is yet to give instructions for businesses to do the same. There is time for migration however, as the site won’t fully shut down until next summer.

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