Top Google employees who have amassed many followers on the company’s social networking site, Google+, have disappeared overnight from the top 100 users list at SocialStatistics.com.
It seems that the data on who these users are following and who is following them have disappeared from their profiles, which could point to a number of theories — from experiments with privacy features to a new company policy for Googlers on the network designed to curb the popularity contest.
But it doesn’t seem to stop at Google employees. Mark Zuckerberg, who previously held the #1 spot on the network, has also disappeared from the list after changing his privacy settings to stop showing his friends and followers.
Vic Gundotra, a lead on the Google+ project, has recently drawn attention to Google’s current focus on improving privacy on the platform. This week, users will be able to keep their gender private, for example.
Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, who created SocialStatistics.com and is a co-founder of The Next Web, says that Matt Cutts, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Vic Gundotra and Marissa Mayer all changed their profiles overnight and consequently dropped out of the top 100.
Bradley Horowitz is the only high profile Google employee remaining in the list at #7. The new Top 3 users at Google+ are Robert Scoble (43,131 followers), Leo Laporte (42,875 followers) and Kevin Rose (38,287).
We’ve reached out to Google for an official statement on the matter.
It seems that after dropping of the Google+ Social Statistics list, Mark Zuckerberg and the good people at Google – Matt Cutts, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Vic Gundotra and Marissa Mayer – have magically reappeared back on the list. It’s still not entirely clear why they dropped off in the first place, and their reappearance can’t yet be explained either.