Path (social network)

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Path
Path logo.svg
Type Private
Founded San Francisco, California
Headquarters San Francisco, California, United States
Area served Worldwide
Founder(s) Dave Morin
Shawn Fanning
Dustin Mierau
Key people Dave Morin
Shawn Fanning
Dustin Mierau
Employees 25
Website www.path.com
Written in C & Objective-C (iOS), Java (Android), Python (backend)
Type of site Social networking
Registration Required
Available in English, Arabic, Norwegian, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Traditional Chinese
Launched November 2010
Current status Active

Path is a social networking-enabled photo sharing and messaging[1] service for mobile devices, launched in November 2010. The service allows users to share with their close friends and family up to a total of 150 contacts.[2]

Dave Morin, co-founder and CEO, says: "Our long-term grand vision here is to build a network that is very high quality and that people feel comfortable contributing to at any time."[2]

The company began with an iPhone application and a website, and later released apps for Android, iPad, and Windows Phone. The company competes with other social networks such as Instagram.[3]

Based in San Francisco, California, the company was founded by Shawn Fanning and former Facebook executive Dave Morin.[4] Path's initial $2.5 million funding round[1] included Ron Conway, Index Ventures, First Round Capital, Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Rose, Marc Benioff, Chris Kelly, and others.[4] It subsequently raised $30 million in venture capital from Redpoint Ventures. On January 11, 2014, the company announced it had raised another $25 million in venture funding from Indonesian Bakrie Group, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Index Ventures, Greylock Partners, Insight Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures, and First Round Capital.[5]

Indonesia is the world's largest Path userbase with more than 4 millions users.[6]

Service[edit]

Users update their stream on Path by posting photos, adding tags for people, places, and things.[7]

Path limits each user's social network to 150 friends to encourage users to select only high-quality connections.[8] Overall, the decision the company says was inspired by psychology research that suggests people have a maximum number of workable social contacts. The limitation, along with user controls over how to share each post, were designed to encourage greater sharing of personal information by keeping it private to a person's inner circle of social contacts.[9] The site was intended as a companion to Facebook and other social network platforms, as opposed to a destination website.[10]

Contacts are suggested from among persons in a user's electronic address book, as well as people with whom the user is communicating by email.[11]

History[edit]

Original Angel investor funding for Path was secured in November 2010.[12]

In February 2011, the company raised a second round of $8.5 million in venture capital from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Index Ventures along with Digital Garage of Japan.[13]

In November 2011, Path relaunched with more features, and by December 2011 it grew from 30,000 to over 300,000 members in less than a month.[14]

August 11, 2013 – Path partnered with Apps Viddy, Picstitch, Strava, WordPress, Bible, Papelook, Miil, Manga Camera and Otaku that hooked into its network to get a “Share on Path” button. The company’s first API partner was Nike which allows users to share their runs and general fitness levels for each day. [15]

Controversy[edit]

In February 2012, the company was widely criticized for concerns of accessing and storing member phone contacts without their knowledge or permission. In a blog post by the CEO the company apologized and changed its practices.[16] Soon thereafter, in March 2012, the company received a request for information from Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-California) and G. K. Butterfield (D-North Carolina) along with 33 other app developers asking them to detail what information they collect from users and how they use it.[17]

In February 2013, the company was fined $800,000 by the FTC for storing data from underage users and will be required to have its privacy policies assessed every two years for the next 20 years.[18] Along with the civil penalty, FTC has prohibited Path from making any misrepresentations about the extent it maintains confidentiality of its users' personal data. [19]

In April 2013, a user wrote a blog post alleging that Path sent spam SMS invitations to his phone contacts. Even so, the user could not confirm without doubt that he did not send the SMS invitations when signing up for the service, stating: "I’m pretty sure I didn’t opt in...."[20] TechCrunch then speculated that Facebook blocked Path's "Find Friends" access due to this occurrence; however, Facebook nor Path confirmed or denied such reports. Even so, Path users can still share their posts to Facebook.[21] Facebook also cut off "Find Friends" access to other apps such as MessageMe and Voxer, which were formally cited as competitors to Facebook.[22]

The company was named in a 60 minutes report on internet privacy and data brokers.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b McCarthy, Caroline (November 14, 2010). "A Path the world isn't meant to see". CNET. 
  2. ^ a b Fowler, Geoffrey A. (March 11, 2011). "Path Gets "FriendRank" and a Revenue Stream". The Wall Street Journal. 
  3. ^ "Start-Up Path Aims for More Personal Social Network". The New York Times New Roman. November 15, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Isaac, Mike (November 14, 2010). "New Social Network Path = iPhone + Instagram + Facebook – 499,999,950 Friends". Forbes. 
  5. ^ Empson, Rip. "Path Finally Closes That Elusive Series C". TechCrunch. 
  6. ^ Cornila Desyana (February 25, 2014). "Indonesia has the Largest Number of Path Users". 
  7. ^ Molina, Brett (November 15, 2010). "Following the Path to a more personal social network". USA Today. 
  8. ^ "From Ex-Facebooker, A New 'Path' To Sharing". Associated Press. November 15, 2010. 
  9. ^ Frommer, Dan (November 15, 2010). "Path Launches To Save You From Facebook". Business Insider. 
  10. ^ "Startup Path bids to be 'anti-social network'". Economic Times. November 16, 2010. 
  11. ^ De Jesus, Roy (November 19, 2010). "A different Path to create your social network". Central Florida News 13. 
  12. ^ After Months Of Buzz, Path Launches: It's Photo Sharing Where You Can Be Yourself | TechCrunch
  13. ^ Path Gets $8.5 Million. Ahem! Why? — Tech News and Analysis
  14. ^ A New Path: Path Grows Daily Users 30x Since Relaunch | TechCrunch
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ Path CEO: We are sorry, and we've deleted your address book data | Rafe's Radar - CNET News
  17. ^ Bonnington, Christina (March 23, 2012). "Congress Queries App Developers on Their Data Privacy Practices". Wired. 
  18. ^ Path's Big Privacy Mistake Offers a Valuable Lesson for Start-ups
  19. ^ Path Social Networking App Settles FTC Charges it Deceived Consumers and Improperly Collected Personal Information from Users’ Mobile Address Books
  20. ^ [2]
  21. ^ Constine, Josh; Butcher, Mike (May 4, 2013). "Facebook Blocks Path's 'Find Friends' Access Following Spam Controversy". TechCrunch. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  22. ^ Cutler, Kim-Mai (March 15, 2013). "Facebook Brings Down The Hammer Again: Cuts Off MessageMe's Access To Its Social Graph". TechCrunch. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  23. ^ http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-data-brokers-selling-your-personal-information/

External links[edit]