On Venmo and Privacy

I’ve been using the Venmo payment service for a few years. Mostly I use it to pay my sister-in-law, who is a personal chef, for the meals she makes for us weekly.

When I first signed up for the service, I thought it was strange that I could see a timeline of all the transactions of my friends who also used it. And there was a global timeline, where I could follow anyone who used the service. I turned that shit off quick, making sure my transactions were listed as private.

Below is a fascinating article about what can be done with data that is not marked as private on Venmo. A couple of the examples – the drug dealer, the philandering adults – are kind of funny. More concerning is the one of the woman who made hundreds of purchases for unhealthy foods and the implications of her insurance company finding them and using them against her.

As with any other social media platform or free web service, you always have to consider who can see the data you’re sharing and what the company that controls the service can do with your information. Select those privacy options carefully.

Venmo: how the payment app exposes our private lives