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. So you might want to change them to make sure you are not displaying information that you don't want strangers to know about you.
To access the privacy settings, go to Account & Settings > Privacy & Settings.
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, you can select options that allow your profile to be seen by others. The default for these settings makes most of your LinkedIn profile information available to everyone, including your picture, work summary, education and past jobs. You might want to change these if you don't want certain people or groups of people to access this information.
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.
Your Privacy Settings
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.
- Turn on/off invitations to participate in research (Communications tab): LinkedIn allows companies to ask questions of the LinkedIn user base. While the information for such a survey is completely private, you can turn it off.
- Select who can see your connections (Profile tab): By clicking your connections for this option, 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.
- Select what others see when you've viewed their profile (Profile tab): 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.
- Turn on/off your activity broadcasts (Profile tab): 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.
- Turn on/off data sharing with third party applications (Groups, Companies & Applications tab): LinkedIn has partnered with other companies to cull "non-personally identifiable information" from your LinkedIn profile. With this information, they will serve you up a customized list of headlines.
- Manage Advertising Preferences (Account tab): This allows you to turn off cookie tracking by LinkedIn.