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Path: Once A ‘Darling’, Now Derided

by Team Caffeine · 3 comments

lori r taylor, revmediamarketing, social media, social media marketing, branding, product branding, networking, oneclicksociety, socialcaffeineWalking The Wrong Path?

Path. No doubt you’ve already heard of the up-and-coming social network ‘Path’ created by Dave Morin, a former senior platform manager at Facebook. It was touted as the “anti-Facebook” (before the term became cool) because it offered a social network for people who only wanted to connect with a chosen few users–not thousands. In fact, the number of connections on Path is limited to just 50 people, which Morin claims is the optimum number of people for you to connect with online.

Regardless of how you feel about the limitation on the number of people you can connect with via your social media network, Path was doing splendidly, growing fast and earning kudos left and right.

Until today. Today word has been spreading that Path not only violated the policies of the Apple App Store where it was once a popular download, they also violated their own policies about sharing personal information not to mention violating the trust of its users.

What did they do? Well, according to one developer (whose find was quickly confirmed by others) when users downloaded Path the app uploaded their entire address book to Path servers.

In the social media world privacy is paramount. Facebook regularly takes it on the chin for playing fast and loose with the personal information they collect from their 800+ million users. As the “anti-Facebook” it was assumed Path would not walk in their footsteps, however it now appears that assumption was wrong, or at least, misguided.

Morin has been responding to users personally trying to explain there were technical reasons for the uploading of information and that he was looking into the entire situation to see how they could do better. But it looks a little like closing the barn door after the horse runs off, the cows die and the pigs are served for breakfast. Already angry users are deleting the app and slamming Path in comments at the Apple App Store.

For users of the social network Path, a recent discovery is causing a lot of concern about privacy. A developer working on a Mac OS X version of the mobile app found out that Path, once installed, will send a user’s entire address book to Path’s servers — without telling the user.

Like many privacy issues, the news spread quickly over the Internet. Path CEO Dave Morin replied to the developer, Arun Thampi, saying that the issue was “an important conversation” that Path took very seriously. The contact information that’s uploaded to the company’s servers is only used to help a user find friends and family quickly, Morin said.

He further explained that Path has an opt-in for its Android app, and that one would be added to the iOS version as soon as Apple approves it.

Click here to read more about the Path debacle.

 

Team Caffeine

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

LaRae Quy February 9, 2012 at 6:46 am

Hi Lori

While I normally love the lead the way, I’m also very cautious about who I hook up with. No matter how many time Path says “sorry” the damage to their reputation is done. Connecting up with Path or any other best new item should be fun because they’re different, fun, and full of possibility – not a worry that something in’t done correctly.

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Rob Beland February 9, 2012 at 7:44 am

I think this whole situation has been blown out of proportion, it won’t even be news before you know it…also regarding the # of followers, its not 50, its 150…and the reason for that number is based on Dunbar’s Number. Info here…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar's_number

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Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 9, 2012 at 8:47 am

Jerry, I agree with you completely. Best line of the post: “But it looks a little like closing the barn door after the horse runs off, the cows die and the pigs are served for breakfast.”

I predict that Path’s path will soon be a case study in business schools about what not to do. Violating a user’s trust such as Path did makes it very difficult to continue growing. It’s a shame because they were off to such a strong start. Their initial reaction showed that this wasn’t a serious concern when it absolutely should have been.

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