Path (social network)
|Available in||English, Arabic, Norwegian, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Traditional Chinese|
|Written in||C & Objective-C (iOS), Java (Android), Python (backend)|
Path is a social networking-enabled photo sharing and messaging service for mobile devices that was launched in November 2010. The service allows users to share up to a total of 500 contacts with their close friends and family.
The company began with an iPhone application and a website. Later they released apps for Android, iPad, and Windows Phone. The company competes with other social networks such as Instagram. Path established innovations in UI design that continue through other mobile applications including context sensitive bubbles and the three bar menu slide.
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. 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.
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.
Original angel investor funding for Path was secured in November 2010, from "facebook alumni"  including Marc Bodnick who cited personal belief in Dave Morin as his reason for investing. Ashton Kutcher was a notable early celebrity angel investor and initial user.
In November 2011, Path relaunched with more features. By December 2011, it had grown from 30,000 to over 300,000 members in less than a month.
In August 2013, Path opened its API to services 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, allowing users to share their runs and general fitness levels for each day on Path.
In February 2012, the company was widely criticized after concerns of accessing and storing user phone contacts without 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. The company will be required to have its privacy policies assessed every two years for the next twenty 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.
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, neither 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, programmers such as Montana Mendy contended this notion.
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- Needleman, Rafe (2012-02-08). "Path CEO: We are sorry, and we've deleted your address book data". CNET. Retrieved 2014-11-16.
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- "Path Social Networking App Settles FTC Charges it Deceived Consumers and Improperly Collected Personal Information from Users' Mobile Address Books". FTC. Retrieved 2014-11-16.
- Kenwright, Stephen (2013-04-30). "The antisocial network: Path texts my entire phonebook at 6am". Branded3. Retrieved 2014-11-16.
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- 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.
- Kroft, Steve (2014-03-09). "The Data Brokers: Selling your personal information". CBS News. Retrieved 2014-11-15.