LinkedIn privacy settings appear to be straightforward, but if you leave the default settings in place, you might be surprised to know what information you make public on LinkedIn. How private you decide to make your LinkedIn information affects the inquiries you receive for job opportunities as well as the amount of information you're able to find about others. To access the privacy settings, click the Account & Settings tab on your homepage.
Your Public Profile
While the LinkedIn Account & Settings page has a special section marked for privacy, other categories affect the amount of information other people on LinkedIn see when they visit your page or search for your name.
Under Profile Settings, pay particular attention to the information you make available on your Public Profile. This information may be visible to people who are your "connections." In other words, it is information you should feel comfortable for anyone to see.
After clicking on the Public Profile option, a field appears that allows you to check certain aspects of your public LinkedIn profile. The default makes most of your LinkedIn profile information available to everyone, including your picture, work summary, education and past jobs.
Back on the main Account & Settings page, under Profile Settings, you can also adjust who sees your LinkedIn status message or your member feed. Your member feed displays all the actions you take on LinkedIn, such as updating your resume or changing a link within your profile.
For privacy concerns, there is one feature under the personal information section to consider: "name & location." Your connections always see your first and last name, but if you want to set it so other people on LinkedIn can't see your full name (just your first name and the initial of your last name), you can do so here.
The Privacy Section
In general, LinkedIn does a good job of keeping your information anonymous as it relates to market research. But it's important to remember LinkedIn is running a business, and the power of its business relies on access to your data.
- Research Surveys: LinkedIn allows companies to ask questions of the LinkedIn user base. While the information for such a survey is completely private, you have the option to turn it off.
- Connections Browse: By clicking yes, all your connections can view your list of connections. Unless you are worried about competitors sniping contacts from your LinkedIn list, you should probably leave this setting on.
- Profile Views: LinkedIn likes to inform users that people in their industry have viewed their LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn's default setting allows other users to know someone visited their profile page, but only by industry and general title. You can also just turn it off entirely, so no information is broadcasted to other LinkedIn users when your visit their profile.
- Profile Photos: You can decide to see the photos of your connections, your network, or everyone on LinkedIn.
- Profile & Status Updates: People use LinkedIn not only to track colleagues, but to see the collective activity of businesses in the company profiles section. When you update your resume, that information gets fed into company profiles and also LinkedIn's Movers & Shakers list. You must also decide whether or not to include your status update and make it available to your connections.
- Service Provider Directory: The service provider directory in LinkedIn allows people who provide services to list recommendations they have received from fellow connections or customers who also use LinkedIn.
- Partner Sites: LinkedIn has partnered with these companies (including the New York Times). to cull "non-personally identifiable information" from your LinkedIn profile. With this information, they will serve you up a customized list of headlines.
- Authorized Application: LinkedIn added an application directory this year to help customize your profile. It's a small list of business oriented tools. If you're unsure what applications you decided to install from the directory, this will help you know for sure.