The Venmo payments app will no longer offer its global social feed, which allowed users to see payments between people they don’t know.
Venmo announced the decision on Tuesday, Bloomberg reported.
“As part of our ongoing efforts to continually evolve the Venmo platform, while remaining true to the core of the Venmo experience, we are removing the global flow,” the company said in a statement provided to Bloomberg. “This change allows customers to connect and share meaningful moments and experiences with the people who matter most. “
Previously, users could see payments shared publicly between strangers. In May, an explosive BuzzFeed News report demonstrated how easy it was to track down information from Venmo users, including President Joe Biden. From this report:
On Friday, following a mention in the New York Times that the president sent money to his grandchildren on Venmo, BuzzFeed News searched for the president’s account using only a combination of the search tool. integrated app and public friends function. In the process, BuzzFeed News found nearly a dozen members of the Biden family and mapped out a social network that encompasses not only the First Family, but a large network of people around them, including the President’s children. , grandchildren, senior White House officials, and all of their Venmo contacts.
Venmo, which is owned by PayPal, said on Tuesday that users will still have the ability to control their friend list and will be able to view transactions between friends. Users can also continue to block other Venmo customers.
Customer complaints against some digital payment services, including Venmo, CashApp and Zelle, rose sharply in the first few months of 2021 compared to the same period last year. People have encountered issues ranging from scams to poor customer service, according to a report by the US Public Interest Research Group. (The higher number of complaints may be due in part to an overall increase in the number of people using contactless payment services, following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.)
Venmo, for its part, appears to be stepping up its efforts to improve security and fight fraud.
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