You may recall back in February when Path ran afoul of the FTC for its much-criticized habit of collecting users’ contact information sans permission. The FTC smacked them with a $800,000 fine for what it said was violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act due to the app pulling some information from those under the age of 13. A day shy of 3 months later and the app is in hot water again, this time with its users who say one of Path’s features amounts to spam.
Path, which has seen monumental growth, uses a tactic similar those annoying Facebook apps that post things to your Facebook wall and, worse yet, your friends’ walls without your permission, hocking answers or stickers or secrets that are only visible if that friend downloads the app. Such is the way Path has decided to work, selecting all of the user’s contacts by default for a stock message.
If the user isn’t paying too much attention during the sign-up process or misunderstands that part, the app will take it upon itself to send a mass message out to the user’s contacts. Such was the case with Stephen Kenwright, who The Verge reports had his contacts mass spammed with a message reading, “Stephen Kenwright has photos to show you on Path. Download the free app:”, followed by a link. Other users have complained about the same problem in recent time.
Utilizing these tactics, it’s not hard to see how Path is raking in a million new users every week, as well as more than a few disgruntled one who uninstall the app after finding out that coworkers and friends were spammed with text messages. Path has a different take on the issue, saying that it isn’t spam, but is instead a feature that helps users get the most from the service by having friends and family sign up. If a user doesn’t want the text messages to be sent out, they must remember to unselect their auto-selected contacts on the sign-up page.
[via The Verge]