Path’s Response

February 8th, 2012

Path, the closed social network app, uploaded each user’s contacts to their servers to allow them to inform the user when a friend joined the service. You’ve probably seen discussion/outrage about it. Here’s what Path is doing:

In Path 2.0.6, released to the App Store today, you are prompted to opt in or out of sharing your phone’s contacts with our servers in order to find your friends and family on Path. If you accept and later decide you would like to revoke this access, please send an email to and we will promptly see to it that your contact information is removed.

That’s the right thing to do. They did make a mistake—a mistake, it’s worth pointing out, that I think most applications with this sort of feature probably also make—by not requesting permission first. I don’t have a problem with a service I trust uploading my contacts for that purpose, but doing it without notifying me, let alone asking my permission, doesn’t engender trust.

What they’re doing now does. My view is Path was doing the wrong thing for the right reasons, and while that doesn’t excuse a mistake, it does mean that when they say they screwed up, they’re sorry, and they’re fixing it, there’s no reason not to accept it.

Well done, Path, for doing the right thing.