Digital transaction platform Venmo has announced some new privacy features, after reports of US President Joe Biden’s account being easily found in “under 10 minutes”, emerged. The in-app controls will now let users decide whether they want their “Friends Lists” to be public, private, or visible only to their friends.
Biden’s Account Found “Within Minutes”
Journalists came across Joe Biden’s Venmo account, as per a news report on May 14. Up till now, Venmo accounts had every user’s “friends list” visible to the public. This allowed for easy access to Biden’s private account, since the accounts of his children and his grandchildren were connected to his, and one simply had to go through their list of connections to reach Biden’s personal account.
What caused the search for his account in the first place, you ask? It was a story published in The New York Times, wherein the writer had said that according to an advisor to Biden at the White House, the POTUS had used Venmo to send money to his grandkids.
New Privacy Feature
Since then, Venmo has been working on strengthening user privacy, and has said that it is “evolving” to suit the needs of its varied customers.
Before the official announcement of the new feature was made by the company, software developer Jane Manchun Wong had already given users a heads-up. She had said that the firm is developing a tool to alter privacy settings in light of the recent event, adding that the platform will now also give users the option to choose whether or not they will appear in the friends lists of other users.
As per Venmo, friends lists can be set to private by clicking on the icon with three stacked lines, in the top right corner of the main feed. Following this, the “Friends List” option will be within “Privacy” in the “Settings” tab.