Venmo drops global social feed that let you see strangers' payments

The updated payments app will only show transactions between friends.

Carrie Mihalcik Former Managing Editor / News
Carrie was a managing editor at CNET focused on breaking and trending news. She'd been reporting and editing for more than a decade, including at the National Journal and Current TV.
Expertise Breaking News | Technology Credentials
  • Carrie has lived on both coasts and can definitively say that Chesapeake Bay blue crabs are the best.
Carrie Mihalcik
2 min read
Angela Lang/CNET

Venmo on Tuesday said it's removing its global feed, meaning users will no longer be able to see payments between people they don't know. The change comes as part of a redesign of the Venmo app, which also includes a refreshed look, new discover features and expanded privacy controls. 

Venmo, which is owned by PayPal, said people will still be allowed to see transactions between friends, noting that the friends feed will now be the only social feed in the app. 

"The Venmo community has grown to more than 70 million customers, so this change allows customers to connect and share meaningful moments and experiences with the people who matter most," the company said in a release. 

The popular payment app has faced criticism in the past for making transactions and friend lists publicly visible by default. This public record has been used to figure out who won The Bachelor before a season aired and also reportedly made it easy for BuzzFeed news to find President Joe Biden's Venmo account. While uncovering the president's account raises concerns about potential security risks, many Venmo users liked the app's public facing featuring, using them to pay back friends and enjoy shared experiences like splitting a bar tab. 

Venmo said people can still choose to make their transactions and payment history private, as a default or for individual payments. In addition, people can also now select a friends-only or private setting for their friends list, and can choose whether or not their profile appears on other friends' lists. 

The updated app Android and iOS apps are rolling out to users on Monday and will be available to everyone in the "coming weeks," Venmo said.