Venmo will let you hide friends list, after Joe Biden's account was discovered

Privacy advocates called the discovery of the president's account a national security issue.

Abrar Al-Heeti Technology Reporter
Abrar Al-Heeti is a technology reporter for CNET, with an interest in phones, streaming, internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. She's also worked for CNET's video, culture and news teams. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
Expertise Abrar has spent her career at CNET analyzing tech trends while also writing news, reviews and commentaries across mobile, streaming and online culture. Credentials
  • Named a Tech Media Trailblazer by the Consumer Technology Association in 2019, a winner of SPJ NorCal's Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2022 and has three times been a finalist in the LA Press Club's National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.
Abrar Al-Heeti

Venmo is rolling out more privacy features.

Angela Lang/CNET

Following an incident earlier this month in which BuzzFeed reporters found President Joe Biden's Venmo account with ease, Venmo says it'll roll out a feature allowing people to make their friends lists private or decide who can see them, BuzzFeed said Friday.  

A Venmo representative confirmed the report to CNET, saying: "We're 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."

Tipster Jane Manchun Wong also tweeted about the upcoming feature Friday, writing: "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."

She added, "As of now, Venmo's Friends List Privacy is on 'Public' by default."

Privacy advocates sounded the alarm after Biden's network of contacts on Venmo, including his kids, grandkids and senior White House officials, was easily discovered. Despite his transactions being set to private, friends lists on all Venmo accounts were publicly visible. Experts warned this would create access to a wider network of connections to the president, and could lead to a security risk. 

See also: How to protect your privacy on Venmo and Cash App