Why OKCupid, Venmo and Grindr send your info to Braze

A phone displaying the Venmo app sitting on a retail clothing display table.

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If you use Venmo, OKCupid or Grindr, Braze.com knows where you’ve been and who you’ve interacted with. 

You might be wondering what exactly Braze.com is and why it grabs their geographic, associations and more. 

I found out Friday that after I composed a message on the PayPal-owned digital payments app Venmo to pay my personal trainer Jarek, Venmo passed on my geographic locations and associations (including Jarek) to Braze, which calls itself a “customer engagement” company. 

How did that happen? I wasn’t alone. 

Just last month, the Norwegian Consumer Council issued a blistering report showing what happened to users of the dating sites OKCupid and Grindr in the background, after people revealed all about their interests. 

OkCupid “shared highly personal data about sexuality, drug use, political views, and more,” with Braze, according to the report.

Grindr, a popular dating and social app used by gay and bisexual men, sent data to Braze about the “relationship type” men were seeking on the app, per the report.

A phone displaying the Venmo app sitting on a retail clothing display table.

I asked PayPal twice why it sent my personal information to Braze, and it declined to comment. After our report posted Saturday, we put the question to Braze as well, on Twitter and got a non-response from the company. 

It offered the same statement it gave to Mashable when the Norwegian report first was released. 

Braze “takes the security and privacy of its customers’ data very seriously and discloses, in compliance with applicable privacy law, how it processes data,” the company says. “We give our customers total and absolute control over what data they share with Braze, and we only collect first-party data.”

We reminded Braze spokeswoman Hannah Blackington that at no time was the company given authority to take my data. 

She clarified: “The use of the word ‘customer’ in our statement refers to brands (Braze customers) not consumers.”

On Twitter, I issued a challenge for the firm to delete it immediately. 

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