Path was recently fined $800,000 by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for deceiving its users “by collecting personal information from their mobile device address books without their knowledge and consent.” Last year, the social network was caught storing all of its users’ contacts on its servers under the radar. Now users have started accusing Path of spamming friends to join the service via text message.
Stephen Kenwright has a long explanation on his blog of how Path accessed his address book and sent out messages to all of his friends asking them to join overnight. Some of his friends were also getting phone calls, but it doesn’t look as though those were directly Path’s fault. “Having uninstalled the app yesterday when I decided it wasn’t for me, I’m going to go ahead and assume that Path took this data out of my phonebook sometime during the half hour I had it installed,” says Kenwright.
The issue is that Path sees this as a feature, not a privacy problem. The app automatically blasts all of your Facebook friends with messages asking them to join unless you unselect the option during the sign-up process. The signup links are also texted to every number Path can get its hands on from your device or Facebook. This is a problem that has been bothering users for months. Something so intrusive should be opt-in, not opt-out.
Despite all of the privacy concerns Path has been subjected to in the press, the social network has continued to grow. Path surpassed 10 million users just yesterday.
Source: The Verge.