Recently, Venmo came under heavy scrutiny for its public-by-default settings when reporters found President Biden on the platform.
It wasn’t the first time the company’s terrible privacy record came under fire, but this time, Venmo did something about it.
The problem? It’s now on you to change your settings if you want your friends list to be private. Venmo didn't even publicize the new settings option – leaving the millions of people who use the app vulnerable to inadvertently exposing personal information such as who they spend time with, who they pay rent to, and even who their therapist is. What’s worse: this personal data has been used by hackers and others for nefarious purposes – that’s why it was so worrying when journalists were able to find the President of the United States on the platform.
Of course, until Venmo makes privacy the default, it could happen to anyone, which is why if you use Venmo, we want to make sure you know how to keep your personal data private.
How to make your Venmo friends lists and transactions private:
In 2019, we partnered with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to send a letter to Venmo calling on the company to make two critical updates to its privacy settings: change transactions to private-by-default, and give users privacy settings for their friend lists. With the recent news, we again sent a letter to the CEO of PayPal, which owns Venmo.
While Venmo’s recent update is a step in the right direction, consumers deserve privacy-by-default, and we’ll keep fighting until that’s the norm.