Fecebook/Venmo reading private messages to divert financial transactions

UPDATE: 1. Paypal owns Venmo. 2. E was on his phone, I was at my desktop. I removed fecebook and messenger (ant twitter!) from my phone over a year ago, for increasingly obvious reasons.

It’s difficult to copy-and-paste a fecebook messenger conversation into a blog post, but I tried, because I want people to know about fecebook reading a private conversation about sending money through PayPal, and instantly creating an unauthorized transaction request without either party’s knowledge or permission. Below, text from a conversation between me and E in Fecebook messenger, December 16 2018:

E: Hey where is the pay pal link? I’m not finding it. Or do you have Venmo, that’s even easier

N: Just go to PayPal and send it to ____@_________.com.

Then I see this:Screenshot 2018-12-16 09.40.16

N: Wait, what? This isn’t PayPal, this is some weird fecebook thing. I really don’t want to give fecebook my bank info. Can you please just PayPal it to  ____@_________.com?

E: Oh fuck I got a request from you via FB and so I sent it. I thought that’s what you were asking. I don’t know if I can retrieve it. If you didn’t request that is fucked up.

There was a little green button so I clicked it.

N: I sure as fuck didn’t send you a fecebook money request.

Can you take a screen cap of the green button/apparent fecebook request? I can publicize and shame them for doing this, it is way unethical.

E: The green button is gone. It is replaced by this:

E’s screencap:

E_screenshot2

N: At least it says it expires.

E: Yes. If you refuse payment I will get it back in a week or so.

At the very least it seems like msft should be pissed.  You were about to send money via  PayPal and FB swooped in.

Here are my screenshots of Fecebook trying to get my card info so I can receive money I didn’t request on a payment platform I don’t use:

Screenshot 2018-12-16 09.40.16 Screenshot 2018-12-16 09.40.24 Screenshot 2018-12-16 09.40.30

N: OK, it was demanding I enter a card first, but after I went through a few pages of “add your card” bullshit there was a little “decline” link. So I just declined it and didn’t give them my card. The whole thing is definitely set up to get the recipient to give them their card info though.

E: Let’s try to replicate that though to see if we can make the green button show up.

N: Hey E, you still owe me $20! Just send it to me via PayPal, to ____@_________.com .

E: Was there and now it is gone!

E’s screenshot:E_screenshot4

N: WHOA
EVIL

E: Here try this.

Hey Nina. Can you please send me $100 by PayPal to ____@_____.com?

N: Hmm, I’m not getting anything

E: I saw one.

N: Maybe because fecebook doesn’t have my card info!

E: I’ll send it to you.

E_fecebook_screenshot

N: Wow. That’s not as bad as the “send” thing, but it’s still bad!

……

E: Yeah the two parts that fuck me up are: 1. you ask specifically to send via PayPal and they give me a green button seemingly to execute your request, and that directs this business to a competitor. 2. Much much more problematic is that AI agents scan all our communications and then act on it in ways that are not in our interests but are in corporate interests. In they old days you needed a wire tap to listen into a phone conversation and it was a federal offense to open someone’s mail. Now you can assume that all your communications are scanned for info.  There is enough computing power now or soon to scan and analyze every bit of human communication plus location shopping reading and website visits, like your entire life is owned.

…..

N: Oh dude – I just went to venmo.com. Look:

Venmo 2018-12-16 10.06.55

N: “Sign up with fecebook.”
Venmo is fecebook.

Below are screenshots of the conversation in fecebook messenger. The text above is supposed to make all this easier to read, but maybe the images below are a better record:

Screenshot 2018-12-16 10.03.29 Screenshot 2018-12-16 10.03.46 Screenshot 2018-12-16 10.04.03 Screenshot 2018-12-16 10.04.44

5 comments to Fecebook/Venmo reading private messages to divert financial transactions

  • Rick Baumhauer

    PayPal owns Venmo, though they don’t seem to want people to know that (see http://fortune.com/2016/07/13/paypal-venmo-millennials/). They appear to have cut a deal with FB, which gets data from the transaction and puts it into the social feed of the involved parties (and probably kicks a fee over to PayPal that makes up for whatever fee might have been collected on a PayPal transaction). Still creepy.

  • Adriana

    So fucked up! This is why I’m waiting for you to come to Miami and meet you. I have a donation to make. In cash and in person. A bit embarrassing, but safer.

  • Alas, Adriana, I won’t be attending the Miami festival. They have no budget for flying me there.

  • Adriana

    No. Please… I was so excited. My lentils that I owe you… I don’t like this news. You need to come to Cuba then. The big film festival is in December. I will make it happen, if you are ok with it.

  • Adriana

    I just sent emails to every independent cinema house in Miami suggesting them to include “Sita Sings the Blues” in their January programming. I don’t think that movie was ever shown in Miami’s big screens, but even if it did, it’s a great time to show it again. Preferably with your presence included.
    I’m very upset the JFF did that to you (to us, the audience). This is my way of coping.

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