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How to manage the data linkedin collects on you

Vann Vicente has been a technology writer for four years, with a focus on explainers geared towards average consumers. He also works as a digital marketer for a regional e-commerce website. He’s invested in internet culture, social media, and how people interact with the web. Read more.

LinkedIn is a great way to connect with professionals in your field, find employment opportunities, and build up your credentials. However, its privacy settings can be confusing and difficult to manage. Here’s how to fix that.

LinkedIn Privacy: An Overview

Unlike other social networks, privacy on LinkedIn isn’t just about managing who can see your posts and your profile, it’s also about managing who can see what you do on the site. Because LinkedIn is all about forming professional connections, having other users see some of your activity is enabled by default.

For example, changes in your employment status, new connections, and even whether or not you’ve looked at someone’s profile is information that may be accessible to others. That’s why it’s important to stay on top of your LinkedIn privacy settings, especially if you’re using it to find a job.

When you open up the privacy settings in LinkedIn by going to Me > Settings and Privacy > Privacy in the upper-right corner, you’ll see the following sections:

  • How others see your profile and network information: This lets you control what information is visible on your profile, and who is allowed to see it.
  • How others see your LinkedIn activity: This lets you change the visibility of your on-site activity, such as your online status and changes to your profile.
  • How LinkedIn uses your data: This allows you to manage how LinkedIn uses and shares your data with others.
    Job seeking preferences: This lets you manage job seeking on LinkedIn, particularly the visibility of your job-seeking status to employers.
  • Blocking and hiding: This allows you to change who can see your posts and block specific people entirely from your network.

Profile Visibility

The two primary sections involved in configuring your profile visibility are “How Others See Your Profile And Network Information” and “Blocking And Hiding.”

In “How Others See…,” you can customize who can see your profile, connections, interests, last name, and the organization you work for. The most basic setting here is “Edit Your Public Profile,” which limits the amount of information visible to people who are not logged into LinkedIn.

Clicking on this takes you to the separate “Public Profile Settings” page. You can see a preview of what your profile will look like to people who discover your profile through search engines or external links. On the right, you can toggle which sections of your page are public. You can also opt to hide your profile picture from anyone not in your network.

On “Blocking And Hiding,” you’ll be able to see who you have blocked from the site. Accounts that you have blocked will not be able to see your profile. Under this section, you can also select which types of accounts can follow you on the site. When someone follows you, they’ll be able to your public updates and posts.

Site Activities

The next thing that can be configured is the visibility of your activity on the site, which is in the “How Others See Your LinkedIn Activity” section.

Unlike other social media sites, LinkedIn allows users to see who visited their profile. You can change this with “Profile Viewing Options,” which can make you anonymous when you browse other peoples’ accounts. However, switching to private also prevents you from seeing who visited your page, unless you upgrade to LinkedIn Premium.

By default, LinkedIn informs your network if you have a new job or when you have a work anniversary. You can disable this by going to “Share Job Changes…” and switching the toggle to “No.”

You can also change who can see when you’re active on the site, which is typically denoted by a green circle next to your name. Under “Manage Active Status,” you can select if everyone, no one, or only your connections can see when you’re online.

Data Management

LinkedIn collects a lot of data about you, especially if you’re actively hunting for a job. Depending on how you’ve interacted with the service, you may have provided salary data, demographic information, and the names of your contacts to the site.

In the “How LinkedIn Uses Your Data” section, you can obtain a copy of all the data that’s been collected on you by going to “Get A Copy Of Your Data.” You can customize what is included in the dump, or you can opt just to obtain everything including media files. Depending on how large the database is, it can take up to 24 hours to get a download link.

There’s also a list of your data-related activities under “Manage Your Data And Activity.” This includes syncing your contacts, sharing your profile with another company, or linking your account with another application.

Job Seeking Privacy

LinkedIn job hunting is a two-way street. One way you can get a job on the site is by looking through available opportunities in your area, field, and level of expertise, which can be found at the “Jobs” section on the main page. The other way is by allowing jobs to come to you. Recruiters frequently use LinkedIn to find talented people who are open to new job opportunities.

The most basic way to configure this is by changing your current availability status. If you toggle the “Let Recruiters Know You’re Open To Opportunities” setting to Yes, you will appear in searches made by recruiters if you fit their employment criteria. However, while they do take steps to prevent your current employer from seeing your job seeking status, LinkedIn does not make explicit guarantees.

If you’re paranoid about your current employer finding out and don’t want to take the risk, you may want to consider leaving this option off. You will still be able to apply to jobs and display interest.

You can also manage the following settings under this section:

  • Sharing your profile when you click apply: When you apply to a job, you may be redirected to an off-site recruitment page. When this option is turned on, your LinkedIn profile will be shared with the recruiter even when you’re redirected.
  • Application settings: When you apply to a job that uses LinkedIn’s built-in application feature, you can choose whether or not to save that information for future job applications.
  • Signal interest to companies you have created job alerts for: This toggles whether you appear as available to companies you have set job alerts for. You can set a job alert for an employer on their company profile page.

28 Ways To Manage Data LinkedIn Collects on You

If you’ve been on LinkedIn for a while I’m sure you’re already aware that there are settings that you can use to control which information the network can see and how others can communicate with you.

But do you know just how much information LinkedIn collects about you and how to manage this? There may be more but I have counted at least 28 settings that you should check.

They’re in the same place as your main privacy controls but I find a lot of people just look at the basics without looking much further.

Beyond the basics

Most LinkedIn users set up their basic privacy settings when they start their account and never check them again. All of these settings can be changed at any time so make sure yours are adjusted to suit the way you are using the platform.

To find these more detailed settings, on your main feed page, click on your profile photo and select Settings and Privacy from the dropdown menu.

You should now see a menu on the left of the screen. It shows the familiar links to Account Preferences, Visibility and Communications.

Look a little further down the list and you will see Data Privacy and Advertising Data.

When you click on ‘Manage your data and activity’ you may be surprised at what you see!

Here are just a few examples of the data that LinkedIn logs:

  • You submitted data to an advertiser
  • You started sharing LinkedIn data with a permitted application
  • You added/removed an email address
  • You opted in to emails containing promotions, updates etc.
  • You changed your password
  • Your LinkedIn profile was connected to an organisation
  • You added a phone number

If you’re looking for a job there are another 6 settings to check and decide whether you want them On or Off.

Under Other Applications you can see which other services or applications you have allowed to access your LinkedIn profile.

And then there’s Advertising data. Click on that link and check the list of options…too much here for one screenshot!

Screenshot #1

Screenshot #2

Screenshot #3

I decided not to go through every single setting here as that would take a small book. Most of them are quite self explanatory once you get into it. The choice is usually a simple On or Off toggle setting.

This may take a little while to work through but doing so will leave you feeling confident that you have taken as much control as you can over how LinkedIn collects and uses your data.

What about transparency?

You can submit a request to LinkedIn to show you what data they have collected. There’s a link in the menu How LinkedIn uses your data.

It’s the second menu item – Get a copy of your data.

When you click through to this you will be able to select the type of information and degree of detail you want in the report.

Here’s a screenshot of the list:

Does this look like a lot of work?

Maybe. But in my view it really pays to feel in control and to make sure that LinkedIn is only collecting data that is absolutely necessary to make your LinkedIn experience positive.

Over to you. Reviewing and adjusting your data collection settings would probably take no more than about 45 minutes and it will be time very well invested.

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Vann Vicente has been a technology writer for four years, with a focus on explainers geared towards average consumers. He also works as a digital marketer for a regional e-commerce website. He’s invested in internet culture, social media, and how people interact with the web. Read more.

LinkedIn is meant to give your career a boost. In the process, though, it collects a lot of data about you. Here’s how to manage your data privacy settings on the site.

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:

  • Everyone
  • 2nd-Degree Connections
  • Nobody

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.

Data Availability

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.

Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader’s Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read more.

LinkedIn often tells people when you view their profiles and shows them your name. That person may even get an email or alert saying you viewed their profile. Here’s how to browse privately without LinkedIn sharing this information.

It may seem silly to prefer anonymity on a social network, but other social networks don’t work this way. Facebook and Twitter don’t send someone a notification whenever you view their profile.

To find this option, head to the LinkedIn website, click your profile icon on the top bar, and select “Settings & Privacy.”

Click “How others see your profile and network information” under Privacy. Click “Profile viewing options.”

Select how you want to appear. You can select “Anonymous LinkedIn Member” for pure private browsing or select your private profile characteristics, which may appear as just “Someone on LinkedIn” or something more specific.

People will still see that someone viewed their profile after you view their profile—but they’ll see only that an anonymous person viewed it.

As LinkedIn warns you on this settings page, there’s just one downside: When you become anonymous to other people, they become anonymous to you. LinkedIn will hide the names of people who view your profile from you after you enable this anonymity option.