Path (social network)
|Foundation date||San Francisco, California|
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California, United States|
|Key people||Dave Morin
|Type of site||Social networking|
|Available in||English, Arabic, Norwegian, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Traditional Chinese|
Path is a social networking-enabled photo sharing and messaging 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. The company has had ongoing controversies with its aggressive growth tactics.
Based in San Francisco, California, the company was founded by Shawn Fanning and former Facebook executive Dave Morin. Path's initial $2.5 million funding round included Ron Conway, Index Ventures, First Round Capital, Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Rose, Marc Benioff, Chris Kelly, and others. It subsequently raised $30 million in venture capital from Redpoint Ventures.
Path limits each user's social network to 150 friends to encourage users to select only high-quality connections. 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. The site was intended as a companion to Facebook and other social network platforms, as opposed to a destination website.
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.
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.
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. 
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. 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.
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. Along with the civil penalty, FTC has prohibited Path from making any misrepresentations about the extent it maintains confidentiality of its users' personal data. Path claims to have deleted all the personal information from the address book collected while their deceptive practices were still in place.
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...." 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. Facebook also cut off "Find Friends" access to other apps such as MessageMe and Voxer, which were formally cited as competitors to Facebook.
- McCarthy, Caroline (November 14, 2010). "A Path the world isn't meant to see". CNET.
- Fowler, Geoffrey A. (March 11, 2011). "Path Gets "FriendRank" and a Revenue Stream". The Wall Street Journal.
- "Start-Up Path Aims for More Personal Social Network". The New York Times New Roman. November 15, 2010.
- Isaac, Mike (November 14, 2010). "New Social Network Path = iPhone + Instagram + Facebook – 499,999,950 Friends". Forbes.
- Molina, Brett (November 15, 2010). "Following the Path to a more personal social network". USA Today.
- "From Ex-Facebooker, A New 'Path' To Sharing". Associated Press. November 15, 2010.
- Frommer, Dan (November 15, 2010). "Path Launches To Save You From Facebook". Business Insider.
- "Startup Path bids to be 'anti-social network'". Economic Times. November 16, 2010.
- De Jesus, Roy (November 19, 2010). "A different Path to create your social network". Central Florida News 13.
- After Months Of Buzz, Path Launches: It's Photo Sharing Where You Can Be Yourself | TechCrunch
- Path Gets $8.5 Million. Ahem! Why? — Tech News and Analysis
- A New Path: Path Grows Daily Users 30x Since Relaunch | TechCrunch
- Path CEO: We are sorry, and we've deleted your address book data | Rafe's Radar - CNET News
- Bonnington, Christina (March 23, 2012). "Congress Queries App Developers on Their Data Privacy Practices". Wired.
- Path's Big Privacy Mistake Offers a Valuable Lesson for Start-ups
- Path Social Networking App Settles FTC Charges it Deceived Consumers and Improperly Collected Personal Information from Users’ Mobile Address Books