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Photo: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google will accelerate the planned shutdown of its Google+ social networking service after discovering a bug that made it possible for developers to access private information on millions of users.

The big picture: Google chief executive Sundar Pichai will face questions about how the company protects user privacy when he testifies before a House committee Tuesday.

Details:

  • Google said in a blog post that "apps that requested permission to view profile information that a user had added to their Google+ profile — like their name, email address, occupation, age ... were granted permission to view profile information about that user even when set to not-public."
  • The issue applied to 52.5 million users.
  • Earlier this year, the company said it would shut off the service for consumers after user data was inadvertently exposed to developers.

Yes, but: "No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the developers who inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way," said Google vice president David Thacker in the blog post.

The backstory: Google+ launched in 2011 as a competitor to Facebook but never seriously challenged the dominant social network.

The bottom line: The Google+ consumer service is shutting down in early April 2019 instead of August 2019. Developer access to data will be cut off even sooner.

Go deeper

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Obama speechwriter fears Biden unity drive is one-sided

Cody Keenan (right) is shown heading to Marine One in December 2009. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.

What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."

Scoop: Conservative group puts $700k behind Hawley

Sen. Josh Hawley explains his objection to certifying the 2020 election results hours after the U.S. Capitol siege. Photo: Congress.gov via Getty Images

A Republican group is raising and spending huge amounts of money defending Sen. Josh Hawley after he was ostracized for early January’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Why it matters: The Senate Conservatives Fund is backfilling lost corporate and personal donations with needed political and financial support, helping inoculate the Missouri lawmaker as he weighs re-election or a possible presidential campaign in 2024.