What LinkedIn Knows About You
LinkedIn is a social networking website that allows you to hunt for jobs, connect with people in your field, and publicly display your professional experience. However, to make full use of the site’s features, you have to divulge a lot of personal and work information to your connections and potential employers.
You can manage your LinkedIn profile privacy settings to protect your personal information from people you don’t know. However, like many other social media sites, LinkedIn might use your data for research and advertising purposes.
Given current concerns about online privacy, it’s important to be conscious of who has access to your data, and what they do with it.
To manage your data settings, click “Me” at the upper right, and then select Settings and Privacy > Privacy. Scroll down to “How LinkedIn Uses Your Data.”
The settings in this section can be grouped into the following categories:
- “Data and Activity”: This allows you to obtain a copy of your data, as well as a log of all the times it was shared with other parties.
- “Calendar and Contacts”: Here, you manage interactions between LinkedIn and your accounts and phone numbers.
- “Data Availability”: This allows you to choose whether your data is available to LinkedIn’s partners for research and to provide additional information to the site.
Checking Your Data and Activity
Several options will give you a better picture of the data you have stored, and with whom that information is shared.
The first is “Manage Your Data and Activity,” which provides a log of every time your data was shared with a third-party, such as an employer or linked service. You can also see the dates your contacts were synced, when you changed a significant privacy setting, or when LinkedIn updated its terms of service.
You can also request an archived version of the data on your LinkedIn account with the “Get a Copy of Your Data” setting. You have the following options when downloading your information:
- Full archive: This includes all your connections, as well as your account history, posts, and other data the site gathers about you based on your activity and the information you upload.
- Partial archive: You can also download specific pieces of your data, such as your messages, contacts, posts, or profile information.
Note that requesting your full archive can take up to 24 hours. The more information tied to your account, the longer it will take for your download to be ready. When it’s complete, you’ll receive a notification on the site and via email.
Toward the end of the section, you’ll see the “Search History” setting. This gives you an overview of companies, profiles, and groups you’ve recently looked up via the site’s built-in search engine. You can clear your search history at any time.
Calendars and Contacts
Depending on the type of information you used during the signup process, you likely have a phone number and/or email address linked to your LinkedIn account. While visitors can’t see your contact information by default, they might be able to search for your profile using your phone or email.
You can determine who can find you using these options in the “Manage Who Can Discover Your Profile From Your Email Address/Phone Number” settings.
You can select one of the following options:
- 2nd-Degree Connections
The “Sync Contacts” and “Sync Calendar” options allow you to link your account with your contacts and calendars on external services, like Google or Outlook. You can even sync the contacts on your phone.
When you click one of these settings, you’ll be taken to the “Manage Synced Sources” menu, where you can individually configure each service.
There are many features across LinkedIn that use your demographic and personal information. For example, when applying for a job, premium subscribers can compare their profile against those of other applicants.
You can also voluntarily provide salary information to LinkedIn via the “Salary Data on LinkedIn” setting. You can then compare your salary expectations with other applicants and positions.
You can also provide your gender and disability status in the “Personal Demographic Information” section. These will be used for LinkedIn features, but won’t be displayed on your profile.
Additionally, the “Social, Economic and Workplace Research” section will add your profile to research studies conducted by LinkedIn’s third parties.
The site doesn’t provide any information about the nature of these studies, nor who these third-parties are. If you’re concerned about the privacy of your data, we recommend you toggle-Off this option.