Wall Street Journal report: Google exposed private data of Google+ users, refused to disclose the breach

Google's charitable arm is pumping $11.5 million into 10 organizations fighting for racial justice.The largest of Google.org's new grants, $5 million, will go to the Center for Policing Equity.

Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of Google+ users and opted not to disclose the breach earlier this year, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The company did not disclose the breach, in part, due to fears that doing so would invite regulatory scrutiny and cause damage to Google’s reputation, the Wall Street Journal says, quoting sources that were briefed on the incident and documents it reviewed.

Google plans to announce a new set of data privacy measures that include permanently shutting down all consumer functionality of Google+, effectively ending the product launched in 2011 to challenge Facebook’s social media empire the Wall Street Journal reports.

Google+ is widely seen as one of Google’s biggest failures, the WSJ says.

According to the WSJ report, a software glitch gave outside developers potential access to private Google+ profile data between 2015 and March of this year, when internal investigators discovered the issue and addressed it.

A memo reviewed by the Journal, prepared by Google’s legal and policy staff and shared with senior executives, warned that disclosing the incident would likely trigger “immediate regulatory interest” and invite comparisons to Facebook’s leak of user information to data firm Cambridge Analytica.

Chief Executive Sundar Pichai was briefed on the plan not to notify users after an internal committee had reached that decision, sources told the WSJ.