Private social networking app Path has landed in a privacy mess again as it has been found that the startup is spamming users’ contacts with text messages in an attempt to increase its userbase.
The spammy technique was brought to everyone’s notice by Stephen Kenwright, who found that, after giving the social network a short try, all his contacts had received a text at 6 in the morning urging them to checkout a photo shared with them. There are loads of people on Twitter complaining about receiving similar messages from Path:
I’m getting text messages from path now…. How about no. I’m not joining that.
— Eythan (@Eythano) April 30, 2013
— Path Service (@PathService) April 30, 2013
As it turns out, these messages are a “feature” of Path, where the service sends messages to Facebook contacts during the sign-up process. The mistake it made was to select all contacts by default as seen in the screenshot below, which many users don’t tend to notice and proceed to the next screen:
Path was previously fined $800k by the FTC for a privacy issue where it uploaded a user’s entire address book to its servers without consent. The startup is, again, committing the same mistake, making features opt-in by default instead of the ideal opt-out by default.
Via: The Verge