The Right Way to Apologize

Hot mobile social networking app Path has been under fire for the last few days for saving users’ address books and contact lists on their servers in order to help them connect with their friends.

Path’s intentions were innocent enough — they wanted to make sure more people discovered their friends on Path — but the result is a privacy fiasco that rightfully blew up.

What do you do when you’re under fire for betraying user trust? Path co-founder Dave Morin’s answer: apologize and make it right.

Morin quickly apologized for what happened, explained what Path was doing with the data, and announced that Ptah has deleted the data and will give users the ability to upload their contacts on an opt-in basis:

“We believe you should have control when it comes to sharing your personal information. We also believe that actions speak louder than words. 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. Your trust matters to us and we want you to feel completely in control of your information on Path.”

This is how you do an apology. Path clearly learned from Airbnb’s mistakes and decided to fire off a straight apology and stop the issue in its tracks.

Path will end up stronger once the dust has settled. Side note: Apple really needs to fix this gaping privacy hole.