25,000 Americans Urge Venmo to Update Its Privacy Settings

Also: A new Mozilla-Ipsos poll reveals a majority of respondents want privacy, and not publicity, as their default setting online

Earlier this week, Mozilla visited Venmo’s headquarters in New York City and delivered a petition signed by more than 25,000 Americans. The petition urges the payment app to put users’ privacy first and make Venmo transactions private by default.

Also this week: A new poll from Mozilla and Ipsos reveals that 77% of respondents believe payment apps should not make transaction details public by default. (More on our poll results below.)

Millions of Venmo users’ spending habits are available for anyone to see. That’s because Venmo transactions are currently public by default — unless users manually update their settings, anyone, anywhere can see whom they’re sending money to, and why.

Mozilla’s petition urges Venmo to change these settings. By making privacy the default, Venmo can better protect its seven million users — and send a powerful message about the importance of privacy. But so far, Venmo hasn’t formally responded to our petition and to the 25,000 Americans who signed their names.

Earlier this year, Mozilla Fellow Hang Do Thi Duc exposed the serious implications of Venmo’s settings. Her project, Public By Default, revealed how Venmo users’ drug habits, junk food vices, personal finances, and fights with significant others are available for all to see. Here’s what TV reporters had to say about Hang’s findings:

Mozilla and Ipsos conducted an opinion poll this month, asking 1,009 Americans how they feel about the policy of “public by default.” Americans’ opinions were clear:

77% of respondents believe payment apps should not make transaction details public by default.

92% of respondents do not support Venmo’s justification for making transactions public by default. (In July, Venmo told CNET that transactions should be public because “it’s fun to share [information] with friends in the social world.”)

89% of respondents believe the most responsible default setting for payment apps is for transactions to be visible only to those involved.

Find the full poll results here.

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