Could you ever imagine having an app installed on your iPhone that follows your every move, gets jealous, and stalks you when you break up? Well then meet “Path”, perhaps the creepiest social networking app in the iTunes App Store.
According to an investigative report issued by The Verge, “[Path] has been getting some heat for what some users say are spammy tactics to recruit new users. Digital marketer Stephen Kenwright downloaded the app earlier this week, tried it out, uninstalled it, and went to bed. When he woke up, he found that Path had gone on a rogue mission early in the morning, texting and robocalling an unknown number of his contacts, including his grandparents.”
Path as a social networking app is designed with a beautiful and intuitive user interface, built around users photos and personal experiences. The networking app has gained an impressive 1 million users in a week, leading them to meet a big milestone with their 10 millionth app download. However, in their mission to quickly gain traction, the Path team has crossed the red line concerning user privacy time after time.
The start-up has been chastised for scraping user contacts in the past, and was penalized with an $800,000 fine from the Federal Trade Commission for invading the privacy of underage users.
As an iPhone app developer in San Diego it is infuriating to see a start-up like Path put the entire app ecosystem at risk with their blatant disregard for personal privacy. Rest assured government backlash will ensue and restrictive laws that stifle innovation will follow if this type of behavior continues. Mobile app developers and growth hackers need to think twice before deploying shady techniques into the app market.
Would you like to have an app copy your entire contact list to their servers and call your Grandparents at four in the morning? No thanks!