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Venmo drops the global social feed that could make your payments visible to strangers

Venmo announced it’s removing its global social feed on Tuesday, the payment app’s notorious feature that allows strangers to potentially view payments you make and receive on Venmo (via Bloomberg).

Now Venmo’s social elements will be limited to your actual friends on the app in the “friends feed” without you having to toggle any features in the app. The company buried the change in a blog post detailing an update to the Venmo app. Venmo writes:

As part of our ongoing efforts to continually evolve the Venmo platform, while staying true to the heart of the Venmo experience, we are removing the global feed, and the friends feed is now the only social feed that will appear in the app. The Venmo community has grown to more than 70 million customers, so this change allows customers to connect and share meaningful moments and experiences with the people who matter most.

Until recently, Venmo also offered users no control over who saw their friends list within the app, which is potentially incriminating in an entirely separate way from seeing the content of a transaction. After Buzzfeed News discovered President Biden’s Venmo account and the accounts of people in his inner circle via the friends list, the company added additional privacy controls for the visibility of your Venmo contacts.

How the new “goods or service” payment toggle appears in Venmo.
Image: Venmo

Along with the major change to what’s actually visible in the Venmo app, the company is also giving users the ability to mark if they’re making a payment for a “goods or service” and receive the benefits of Venmo’s Purchase Protection program. Anyone accepting payment for goods or a service is charged a small fee to receive their money (1.9 percent of the transaction plus 10 cents), but Venmo says it may cover the buyer and seller for refunds, which brings Venmo more in line with the Purchase Protection its parent company PayPal offers.

Venmo says the updated app experience should be available in the coming weeks.

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