Smart journal and social networking app Path is experiencing further technical problems today after a number of users reported how multiple spam messages were being sent out to people in their address books.
Digital marketer Stephen Kenwright was woken up at 6am this morning after his father told him that he had received two text messages – one to his mobile phone and one to his work line – asking if he wanted to share some photos.
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Kenwright’s grandparents called shortly afterwards with a similar story, but even stranger was what happened next. “As soon as I put the phone down…it rang again. It was Path, explaining that I have some photos to share (I don’t have any photos, and if I did I would have already seen them).”
Kenwright says he had uninstalled Path the day prior, after just half an hour of use. The random messages, therefore, and his address book must have been accessed during this time.
A quick tweet to Path later and Kenwright was on his way to work, at which point his aunt texted him with the same story about being asked to share photos.
@pathservice why are you texting everyone in my phonebook at 6am?
— Stephen Kenwright (@stekenwright) April 30, 2013
Another user, @ivhero, replied to Kenwright’s tweet later that day verifying that the problem wasn’t restricted to his account.
“No response from Path yet – the guys over there are probably still in bed,” Kenwright added. “In the meantime Path has called two plumbers; an electrician; a dentist; my girlfriend’s grandparents and a local takeaway, letting them know I have photos that they should probably see (I don’t have photos for them).”
For Path, which passed 10 million registered users yesterday, this is a serious issue. It follows a privacy flaw discovered in Path earlier this year, which meant that the service would geotag posts in the social network regardless of whether or not the user had disabled Location Services for the app.
Path later agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission to the tune of $800,000 for deceiving users about the personal information it collected from mobile devices.
It’s unclear at this point how widespread today’s problem is. We’ve reached out to Path to find out more and will update this post if and when the company responds.
Update: We spoke with Path and they deny that they’re spamming anyone. It says that the reason why friends have been contacted is because the user did not opt them out, thereby giving the service permission to contact them. The company tells us that it has not received many requests from users like Kenwright and believe that these are isolated incidents.
Any reference to spamming was done with permission from the user and Path says that its opt-in process has two confirmation screens in place, one from the device and another from the the app itself.