U.S. Supreme Court trumps Google’s plan to shelve shareholder lawsuit

The U.S. Supreme Court has spurned Alphabet Inc’s attempt to nix a lawsuit by shareholders.

Shareholders had accused the Google parent company of fraudulently concealing a security glitch that left private user data exposed.

The justices left in place a lower court’s ruling that revived the lawsuit brought over the 2018 incident that the company was slow to disclose, turning away Alphabet’s appeal.

The lawsuit, led by the state of Rhode Island, was filed after the Wall Street Journal published an article in October 2018 that said Google concealed the exposure of private data for nearly 500,000 users of Google+ – a social network owned by Google – because it feared regulatory scrutiny and reputational harm.

The lawsuit accused the company of making false or misleading statements in violation of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act.

Alphabet’s share price fell after the disclosure, reducing the Mountain View, California-based company’s market value by more than $50 billion.

Google ultimately admitted it had discovered the data exposure in March 2018, though there was no evidence of misuse, and decided to shut down the consumer version of Google+.

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