It’s not surprising that Path’s CEO, Dave Morin, went to Indonesia looking to raise money for the social network’s third round of funding; Indonesia is the site’s “number one user,” according to Morin.
There are 4 million Path users in Indonesia — out of around 20 million users worldwide.
But the $25 million in a series C investment round funded by Bakrie Global Group has received mixed reviews.
As reported by the Jakara Globe, “While some social media users saw the news as a tentative but promising entry for Indonesian business into an industry whose roots remain firmly planted in Silicon Valley, others greeted the announcement with suspicion.”
The Bakrie Group is controlled by presidential candidate Aburizal Bakrie. After the announcement, Bakrie tweeted, “The [capital injection] is part of efforts to make Indonesians more connected and productive, considering that we’re one of biggest users of @Path.”
He also called on young Indonesians to take part in the country’s sci-tech and global networking industries.
But not all Indonesians are jumping on board. A meeting of 74 geologists in 2008 concluded that a volcanic disaster in Java in 2006 was caused by drilling for oil and gas by Lapindo Brantas, a subsidiary of the Bakrie Group.
Bakrie, who was a government minister at the time, denies a nearby well was the trigger, blaming an earthquake 280km (174 miles) away.
The volcano has destroyed 13 villages, dozens of factories and shops and a highway. More than 10,000 families have lost their homes and around 50,000 people have been displaced. Around 5,000 people are still waiting for full government compensation.
At its peak, Lusi disgorged 180,000 cubic metres of scalding mud a day. The volcano continues to erupt today and may be active for decades.
While Facebook and other social networks encourage users to make high numbers of friend connections, Path, a private social network for your closest friends and family, limits a user’s network to 150 friends.
In February of 2012 Morin issued a public apology and paid an $800k fine over privacy violations. The app was uploading entire address books to its servers without users’ permission and spamming a user’s contacts in the middle of the night, apparently for promotion purposes.
A year later, Path appeared to be at it again.