Social networking app Path may be popular among users, but its tendency to access users’ data to encourage adoption by their contacts is certainly not.
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Last Tuesday, digital marketer Stephen Kenwright wrote about Path in a negative light after the app accessed his entire contact list, encouraging his friends to download Path for their own use. Kenwright uninstalled the app afterwards.
Path is known for such aggressive tactics to attract more users. The app selects a user’s entire Facebook contact list to send app download invitations. Unless the user chooses the “Unselect All” option, the app will send out invitations by default.
In February, Path came under fire for the way it handled user data when it was revealed that the app’s iOS was geotagging some uploaded user photos with no permission. The app was updated afterwards to remove the feature.
Last year, the Federal Trade Commission fined Path $800,000 for the company’s collection of personal information from children without their parents’ consent. Path’s co-founder Dave Morin was reportedly taken to account by Apple CEO Tim Cook regarding privacy issues. Apple soon instituted a policy that required apps to secure explicit user approval before users contact data can be accessed.
Path representatives initially explained that the app automatically selects entire contact lists because it “is really best with friends," but has apologized for the privacy violation. All user-uploaded contact data were erased by the company afterwards.