Is Path back to discreetly collecting user information?

path hash

Is Path up to its controversial and spammy antics again? At the top of Hacker News is a blog post by marketer Stephen Kenwright, calling out Path for recently bombarding its users with a finicky strategy to lure its their friends of friends into using the service. The FTC cracked down on Path’s last privacy violation with an $800,000 fine, but judging from the reports of many users, Path might have either forgotten or found a loophole around the FTC’s conditions.

Kenwright writes that after signing up for Path, he’s unknowingly been bombarding his contacts with phone calls (text messages are read out loud when they’re delivered in the U.K. where Kenwright is based) and SMS messages to check out his Path photos – and unfortunately these messages have been delivered at every hour, included in the dead of night. The interesting clincher, according to Kenwright, is that he hasn’t uploaded any photos for his friends and family to even look at. And all this continued happening in the early morning hours after he had removed the app from his phone.

Path’s last encounter with the FTC because of its address book uploading, though technically not illegal, flirted with being unethical. What was illegal, however, was the collection of personal info from minors – children under the age of 13 – without parental consent.

So to see the possibility of something similar happening only three months after the FTC fine was announced is rather surprising. The mobile social network reached 10 million users, and it’s still far, far away from competing with Facebook Messenger, LINE, WeChat, and Twitter, whose user base numbers in the hundreds of millions – but such tactics to grow user numbers could easily come back to haunt the network.

Kenwright says that Path got back to him after reaching out to the company, and insisted it wasn’t storing his phone’s contacts and that these messages that were sent to his friends and family were supposed to be sent within the time period that he actually had Path installed.

“Our product always checks that you’ve opted-in to share your contacts before it reaches out to those people, but we are investigating why there was a delay in doing so,” a Path spokesperson told him.

The problem is that Kenwright insists (or at least believes) that he didn’t actually opt-into sharing his contacts, nor did he have photos that he could have shared on Path in the first place.

This might have been an isolated case that affected only a handful of people, but considering Path’s track record we wouldn’t simply brush the incident off.

Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Computing

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.
Movies & TV

These are the best movies on Hulu right now (March 2019)

From dramas to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Social Media

Twitter wants you to help shape the future design of its app

Twitter is launching an app for testing new design features and it wants you to get involved. Those accepted into the program will have the chance to try out different conversation designs aimed at improving the user experience.
Emerging Tech

Professional drone racing is flying onto Twitter this summer

Professional drone racing is coming to Twitter for the first time this summer. Organizers hope the streaming deal with the social media platform will help the growing sport to further broaden its audience.
Social Media

Twitter takes a cue from Instagram and Snapchat with new quick-swipe camera

Twitter is giving the "what's happening" treatment to photos and video by allowing users to access the in-app camera fast enough to catch and share the moment. The new Twitter camera is now accessible with a swipe.
Computing

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.
Social Media

Yep, it’s not just you. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are down for many

Facebook's family of apps has been suffering issues for much of the day. Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook itself have been out of action for users around the world, with the company scrambling to sort it out.
Social Media

Facebook may soon let you watch live TV with friends in Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party is designed to allow friends to watch together, even when they can't be in the same physical space. Now, that feature could be expanding to include live TV. Facebook announced a test of the feature, starting with live…
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.
Gaming

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.
Social Media

Twitter is testing a handy subscription feature for following threads

Twitter has recently started testing a feature that lets you subscribe to a thread so that you’ll no longer need to like a comment or post to it yourself in order to receive notifications of new contributions.
Social Media

Your Google+ public content will remain viewable on the web, if you want it to

Google's failed social network — Google+ — will soon be wiped from the internet, but there's a team of volunteers working right now to save its public content for the Internet Archive.