Through the social network of Google+, data from hundreds of thousands of users has been exposed for years, and was discovered by Google this spring. According to a Monday Wall Street Journal report, Google chose not to disclose the breach to users due to fear of sustaining damage to the company’s reputation and incurring more government regulation.
The breach reportedly gave outside developers access to users’ full names, email addresses, birth dates, places lived and occupations, among other things.
Per the Wall Street Journal, Chief Executive Sundar Pichai was briefed on the plan to not disclose the data breach.
An internal memo says that disclosing the breach would probably result in “in us coming into the spotlight alongside or even instead of Facebook despite having stayed under the radar throughout the Cambridge Analytica scandal” and that it “almost guarantees Sundar will testify before Congress.”
Pichai has agreed to testify before Congress in the coming weeks.
Google is now shuttering Google+ as a delayed response. The bug has reportedly existed since 2015, and Google does not know if the information has been used.