Venmo fixes a major privacy problem in the app after reporters easily found President Joe Biden's account. The digital wallet app is now rolling out an update that allows its users to make their friends list private.
What Is Venmo?
Venmo is a digital wallet that allows people to make transactions easily. You can send and receive payments, shop, send money or split the bill through the app. You can also request payments from your friends.
Users have used this app to easily split the restaurant bill, cover for a friend's cab fare, or give a grandchild some pocket money.
Venmo said that at its core, it "provides a social way to pay your friends when you owe them money and don't want to deal with cash."
With that "social" aspect of the digital wallet comes a "Friends List." It is a list of all the user's contacts that they've made transactions with. Although the transactions themselves are private, the list, however, is open to anyone. Users can easily access the contact lists of any other user on the platform, says The Verge.
This has been a big privacy issue in the app that has been known for years. But it has only been resolved now.
President Joe Biden Sends Money Through Venmo Accounnt
Earlier this month, BuzzFeed News reporters claimed to have found President Joe Biden's Venmo account in "less than 10 minutes."
In a recent New York Times profile on the president and his time in the White House, one advisor mentioned that Biden had sent his grandchildren money using Venmo. It didn't take long for reporters to start connecting contacts and get a network going to finally find the President's account.
Cnet said that privacy advocates quickly came in to point out the breach of national security. The President's network of contacts included senior White House officials, his kids, and his grandkids.
Anyone can easily build a wider network of connections with the information that they had no choice to make public and it could potentially lead to a security risk.
Venmo Friends List Privacy
Quickly after the BuzzFeed News report, Venmo jumped in to make the necessary updates.
A Venmo representative talked to Cnet stating: "We're consistently evolving and strengthening the Venmo platform for all of our customers. As part of these ongoing efforts, we have added in-app controls providing customers an option to select a public, friends-only, or private setting for their friends list."
Software developer Jane Manchun Wong took to Twitter to share the news of the updates on Friday, tweeting: "Venmo is working on friends list privacy settings after Joe Biden's Venmo friend list was uncovered. Users will also be able to choose whether to appear in other users' friends lists."
Here's how to make your friends list private:
Venmo is working on friends list privacy settings— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) May 28, 2021
after Joe Biden’s Venmo friend list was uncovered:https://t.co/3pDhM1CeHs
users will also be able to choose whether to appear in other users’ friends lists pic.twitter.com/aFruMZqeZ4
She said that the Friends List Privacy is set to "Public" by default but the update now allows users to make it "Private" or choose to only allow friends to view the list.
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