Devastating news for all you creeps out there.
PayPal-owned Venmo announced some major changes to its app in a blog post on Monday.
The big news: It is doing away with its global social feed. That’s the tab that lets users scroll through the Venmo transactions of strangers (and click on their profiles, and look at their friends list, and enter a rabbit hole of stalking).
Don’t worry, the friends feed isn’t going anywhere. Venmo is still the best place to self-inflict FOMO and figure out who is hanging out without you. The friends feed also provides plenty of opportunities to peek into strangers’ lives. If your friends’ transactions are public, the feed still shows their exchanges with their friends, who might be total randos to you.
However, there are new privacy controls in place that let users choose whether their friends list can be public, friends only, or private. Users can also choose whether they will appear on other people’s friends list. Venmo made those changes after BuzzFeed News exposed how easy it was to find President Joe Biden’s Venmo account and all of his contacts, including family members.
The changes are a good thing. But Venmo still makes transactions and friends lists public by default, which is something privacy experts find very problematic.
The update began rolling out Monday on iOS and Android. Other changes include a new app design and more prominent integrations with Venmo credit and debit cards and its cryptocurrency marketplace.
Venmo is also rolling out a feature it announced in June that lets users mark if they’re paying for a “good or service” (for example, a haircut from a friend). If they do, and the vendor doesn’t have a business profile, the vendor will have to pay a fee. The idea is to provide insurance for both parties — but not all small businesses and people with side gigs are happy about it.
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