Venmo added new privacy options after President Joe Biden’s account was discovered
  • Venmo added new added in-app privacy controls after President Joe Biden’s account was discovered.
  • The president’s account was discovered earlier this month by reporters in just minutes of searching.
  • The new update lets users set their friends list to be public, visible to friends, or private.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Venmo has added new privacy options after reporters found President Joe Biden’s account in “less than 10 minutes” of searching.

Venmo, an app for digitally transferring money to and from people you know, added in-app privacy controls which let users set their friends list to be public, visible to friends, or private.

This change comes after the President’s Venmo account was discovered after just a few minutes of searching, Buzzfeed News reported on May 14. 

Venmo accounts by default display connections, or “friends.” Accounts for Biden’s children and grandchildren were among those connected to the president’s account, according to Buzzfeed

The search for Biden’s account began after The New York Times on Friday published an inside look at Biden’s time in the White House. The story said: “One advisor said he had sent the grandchildren money using Venmo.” 

A Venmo spokesperson told Insider the company is “consistently evolving and strengthening the Venmo platform for all of our customers.”

“ As part of these ongoing efforts, we have added in-app controls providing customers an option to select a public, friends-only, or private setting for their friends list. We look forward to continuing to provide customers with a seamless payments experience,” the spokesperson said. 

Software developer Jane Manchun Wong was first to share the news on Friday: “Venmo is working on friends list privacy settings after Joe Biden’s Venmo friend list was uncovered. Users will also be able to choose whether to appear in other users’ friends lists.”

“As of now, Venmo’s Friends List Privacy is on “Public” by default The screenshot shows “Private” was picked because I tapped the option as soon as I saw it,” Wong added.

—Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) May 28, 2021

Wong doesn’t work for Venmo, but she’s built a following among tech workers, journalists, and enthusiasts for digging up and publicizing unreleased features long before they’re officially announced.

To set your friends list to be private, tap the three stacked lines on the upper right of the main feed, then tap “Settings,” “Privacy,” and then “Friends List.” From here, you can make your friends list visible to any logged in Venmo user, your friends, or only you. You can also choose if you want to appear in other users’ friends lists. 

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