Yesterday, the micro-social network got involved in its first mini-scandal, after a hacker discovered the iPhone app uploaded user phone book data on to a server. We took the incident as a sign of social media relevance. But others were more disappointed in Path. Looks like CEO Dave Morin covered those concerns in his lengthy apology on the Path site.
The original explanation, which Morin posted as a comment, wasn't quite enough to calm the masses. He explained the reason for the breach, calling it an "important conversation." Nowhere did Morin say the word "sorry" or indicate that Path would stop uploading data. Though, he did say it would soon ask users to "opt-in." Dissatisfied, betrayed Pathsters called for more. Michael Arrington over at Uncrunched asked Path to "nuke" all the data it had uploaded, proving it had no malicious intentions. "Path should just state that they’re nuking all collected address book data for all users right now. Remove it from their servers entirely," he wrote. And, Gizmodo's Mat Honan had chastised Path for working covertly, pushing for more transparency. "It illustrates a huge point about privacy: Don't surprise people," he explained. "The worst thing a company can do with private data is something unexpected. Unexpected is almost always bad."
In this lengthier apology, Morin has got all of that covered. First: "So, as a clear signal of our commitment to your privacy, we’ve deleted the entire collection of user uploaded contact information from our servers," he wrote. Quite the nice gesture, considering the social network found the data useful, as Morin explained earlier. "We believe that this type of friend finding & matching is important to the industry and that it is important that users clearly understand it," he explained yesterday.
Then we have the transparency thing. Path has rolled out an opt-in version of the software, available starting now. And, Morin has assured better relations moving forward.
We care deeply about your privacy and about creating a trusted place for you to share life with your close friends and family. As we continue to expand and grow we will make some mistakes along the way. We commit to you that we will continue to be transparent and always serve you, our users, first.
For its first scandal, we say Path handled it pretty well.