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Google Plus shutdown date gets moved up after new security breach

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Google can't close down its troubled Google Plus social network soon enough. Two months after saying it would shutter its faltering network after a security glitch potentially exposed personal information on up to 500,000 customers, the technology behemoth is moving up the closure date. 

In a blog post Monday, Google said it had uncovered another security issue, this one affecting 52.5 million users. It now plans to shut down Google Plus by April 2019 and access to its application programming interfaces (APIs) in the next 90 days. Google in October said it would close the network by the end of August and vowed to take additional security steps in the meantime.

The latest breach allowed developers to see profile information on 52.5 million users, even if set to private, using one of Google's APIs for six days in November, the company said. As with the earlier glitch, the data included users' names, email addresses, occupations and ages.

The bug didn't allow third-party apps to access users' financial data or passwords, according to Google, which said it had not found evidence the information had been accessed or misused. 

After the first breach, Google executives opted not to immediately disclose the problem due to fears of regulatory scrutiny following the criticism Facebook encountered over its privacy woes, according to The Wall Street Journal. Google hoped to avoid comparisons to Facebook's leak of user information to Cambridge Analytica, the data firm accused of using information on 87 million Facebook users to help Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, The Journal said. 

The latest revelation comes one day before Google CEO Sundar Pichai is scheduled to testify before Congress on transparency and accountability issues.

Since launching in 2011, Google Plus failed to garner a mass audience and was broken into separate products in 2015.

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