Venmo Makes Privacy Changes After Story About Biden

Users will be able to make their friends' list private
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2021 11:45 AM CDT
Venmo Makes Privacy Changes After Story About Biden
The Venmo app.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Venmo is making a fundamental change to its privacy settings after a story about President Biden exposed a weakness. Users will be able to make their list of friends private, reports BuzzFeed. The money-exchange app previously made anyone's list of contacts viewable to everyone else on the app, and that enabled BuzzFeed to quickly find the president's Venmo account when it was mentioned in passing in a feature article in the New York Times. From there, BuzzFeed was able to map out a network of connections involving the first family.

"We are enhancing our in-app controls providing customers an option to select a public, friends-only, or private setting for their friends list,” a Venmo spokesperson confirms to the Verge. Users who want to take advantage can find the option under settings, then "privacy," then "friends list," though the option apparently has not rolled out for all users yet. App researcher Jane Manchun Wong was the first to spot the change, which she laid out in this tweet. (More Venmo stories.)

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