Venmo: how the payment app exposes our private lives

A researcher dove into info that is publicly available on people’s Venmo accounts and learned about drug sales, eating habits, fights between couples and more. The app has privacy settings but they aren’t enabled by default, and many people (apparently) don’t set them up.

@sjbrown yikes, wow!

When I first saw the way the Venmo app worked, I was shocked by the public-by-default transactions, and the fact that everyone just kinda…let that be? Like it was some kind of status thing or something to show back and forth transactions between friends and vendors and stuff? It’s just one of those “here come some engineers creating a new normal around sharing private data, and everyone just goes along with it”. Glad to see someone pushing back and showing how revealing this info is!

Yikes indeed. The researcher’s website is a pretty fun way to share the findings: https://publicbydefault.fyi/