Watch: Mozilla Venmoes PayPal CEO Dan Schulman our 2 cents
By Kaili Lambe | June 23, 2021 | Advocacy
Venmo, the popular payment app, aims for a different vibe from its parent company PayPal. It’s the fun, emoji-filled, mobile-only option for peer-to-peer payment.

The problem is, Venmo’s privacy settings are public by default, meaning those emojis – and the senders and recipients of the transactions associated with them – are public to the whole world. 😳

Mozilla and others have pointed out the risk this poses – including enabling stalking of survivors of intimate partner violence, social engineering, ransom demands, more.

But Dan Schulman, CEO of Venmo’s parent company, PayPal, hasn’t backed down, defending his company’s negligent track record on privacy in 2019 by saying: "I think the boundaries between private and public are much more blurred than when we were growing up. To that generation, and we shouldn't put our values or our judgment on it, sharing and understanding what their friends are doing and what's important to their friends is incredibly reinforcing."

We think everyone deserves privacy by default, but unfortunately Schulman hasn’t come around – so we found him on Venmo, and shared our 2 cents.

Mozilla Venmoes PayPal CEO Dan Schulman
Recently, Venmo came under heavy scrutiny for its public-by-default settings when reporters found President Biden on the platform. In response to that news, Venmo quietly offered a new setting to make friends lists private – something Mozilla joined our partners at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in calling for more than two years ago.

The new privacy options for your friends list are a step in the right direction (read how to change them here). But much like Venmo added the option for private transactions only after the release of Mozilla Fellow Hang Do Thi Duc’s publicbydefault.fyi and a subsequent Mozilla campaign, it’s too little too late.

The burden shouldn’t be on users to dig through their settings for the most basic privacy protections – particularly when so few expect a financial app to be public-by-default in the first place.

That’s why we again partnered with EFF to send this letter to Dan Schulman urging Venmo to finally make privacy the default. We’ll keep fighting until Venmo users no longer need to take multiple steps to keep their transactions, friends list and even their location private on the platform – that is, until privacy is the default.
FacebookTwitter
Email
We all love the Web. Join Mozilla in defending it.
Let’s protect the world’s largest resource for future generations.
Donate now
Help shape the future of the web for the public good.
Join our Mozilla News email list to get action alerts & internet tips right to your inbox.
I'm okay with Mozilla handling my info as explained in thisPrivacy Notice
More about us
Donate
Careers
Cookies
Legal
Participation Guidelines
Press Center
Privacy
Language
Mozilla is a global non-profit dedicated to putting you in control of your online experience and shaping the future of the web for the public good. Visit us at foundation.mozilla.org. Most content available under a Creative Commons license.
Mozilla FoundationWho we areWhat we doWhat we fundWhat you can doBlogDonate