Why Venmo Is Not A Social Network (And Shouldn’t Want To Be One) – Tech| Social

Future of payment platformsForrester

Payment platforms are ten-a-penny these days (Square, Stripe, WorldPay, Google Wallet the list goes on) but most stories in this arena cite thanks to its early-mover status, smart marketing and having PayPal as its parent company. Recent stories from Buzzfeed and others have poked at for its open policy when it comes to transactions. ’s public feed shows everyone what you bought unless you turn it private. More than 207 million transactions are currently open, and anyone can scrape them to do whatever they like with that data. A surprising choice to still allow considering the current climate but not when you know what the senior management want Venmo to become…a .

"We make it default because it’s fun to share [information] with friends in the social world," a Venmo representative told CNET Friday. "[We’ve seen that] people open up Venmo to see what their family and friends are up to."

Whether or not you agree with or believe the representative is immaterial. With its +7 million monthly users, Venmo is tiny compared to parent company PayPal’s +197m users, but it’s enough to turn Millennial heads and wallets. Venmo’s open feed of purchases in another long line of companies that are doing things because these companies can do things without much thought (or seemingly much thought) into whether they should or what the ramifications down the line will be.

Money is a hugely private and important issue for many people and to have an open feed by default shows one thing; Venmo doesn’t care about user privacy. The other thing this shows is that Venmo doesn’t believe in the feature because if the company thought it could grow or stand on its own two feet, they wouldn’t have made it opt out to begin with. My guess is that so few people would ever turn this feature on is why Venmo made it opt-out. Any way you look at this scenario, it’s begging for a PR nightmare at the very least.

Would the world be better served by greater financial transparency? Undoubtedly yes, but there are purchases and things that people need to be private to maintain their sense of self and comfort. Can social networks have a positive impact on money habits? Absolutely. The correct mix of utility and corporate focus is required. So far Venmo has not made the feed private, but this may come with the backlash it is seeing. Venmo needs to decide what it wants to build moving forward. Right now, this feature can be corrected but this depends on Venmo and where the masters want it to go.

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Future of payment platformsForrester

Payment platforms are ten-a-penny these days (Square, Stripe, WorldPay, Google Wallet the list goes on) but most stories in this arena cite Venmo thanks to its early-mover status, smart marketing and having PayPal as its parent company. Recent stories from Buzzfeed and others have poked at Venmo for its open policy when it comes to transactions. Venmo’s public feed shows everyone what you bought unless you turn it private. More than 207 million transactions are currently open, and anyone can scrape them to do whatever they like with that data. A surprising choice to still allow considering the current climate but not when you know what the senior management want Venmo to become…a social network.

“We make it default because it’s fun to share [information] with friends in the social world,” a Venmo representative told CNET Friday. “[We’ve seen that] people open up Venmo to see what their family and friends are up to.”

Whether or not you agree with or believe the representative is immaterial. With its +7 million monthly users, Venmo is tiny compared to parent company PayPal’s +197m users, but it’s enough to turn Millennial heads and wallets. Venmo’s open feed of purchases in another long line of companies that are doing things because these companies can do things without much thought (or seemingly much thought) into whether they should or what the ramifications down the line will be.

Money is a hugely private and important issue for many people and to have an open feed by default shows one thing; Venmo doesn’t care about user privacy. The other thing this shows is that Venmo doesn’t believe in the feature because if the company thought it could grow or stand on its own two feet, they wouldn’t have made it opt out to begin with. My guess is that so few people would ever turn this feature on is why Venmo made it opt-out. Any way you look at this scenario, it’s begging for a PR nightmare at the very least.

Would the world be better served by greater financial transparency? Undoubtedly yes, but there are purchases and things that people need to be private to maintain their sense of self and comfort. Can social networks have a positive impact on money habits? Absolutely. The correct mix of utility and corporate focus is required. So far Venmo has not made the feed private, but this may come with the backlash it is seeing. Venmo needs to decide what it wants to build moving forward. Right now, this feature can be corrected but this depends on Venmo and where the masters want it to go.

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