Does LinkedIn Sell or Share Phone Numbers?
The short answer is: No, LinkedIn does not sell or share your phone number with third parties without your consent. Here are some key points:
- Your phone number is considered private information that is only visible to you and connections you approve.
- Third-party recruiters may see your phone number if you apply for jobs through LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn may share data like phone numbers if required by law or to prevent harm.
So in most cases, your phone number stays private between you and your connections on LinkedIn. However, there are some exceptions where your number could be seen by third parties, which we’ll explain next.
When Does LinkedIn Share Phone Numbers?
Here are some cases where LinkedIn may share your phone number with third parties:
1. Job Applications
If you apply for jobs through LinkedIn, recruiters and hiring managers at that company will see your full profile, including your phone number. This allows them to contact you about job opportunities. So your number is shared during the job application process.
2. Legal Requests
LinkedIn may provide personal data like phone numbers when required by law, such as a subpoena, court order, or other legal request from government agencies.
3. Preventing Harm
In rare cases, LinkedIn may share personal data if they believe it’s necessary to prevent harm to someone’s health or safety. This could include sharing a phone number with authorities if there are concerns about a threat of violence or self-harm.
4. External Processing
LinkedIn may provide data to third-party service providers, vendors and consultants to process it for purposes like technical operations and recruiting tools. They have contracts with these external processors to keep data like phone numbers secure.
5. Aggregated or Anonymized Data
LinkedIn may share aggregated, anonymized data with third parties, such as reports on overall member demographics and interests. But this data cannot identify individual users.
How to Keep Your Phone Number More Private
If you want to keep your phone number more private on LinkedIn, here are some tips:
- Don’t include your phone number on your public LinkedIn profile. You can enter it in your account settings for internal purposes without making it public.
- Be selective about which connections you accept. Only approve connect requests from people you know and trust.
- Review your profile visibility settings. You can limit who can see your full profile, such as only 1st-degree connections.
- Don’t apply for jobs through LinkedIn where you don’t want employers seeing your number.
- Consider using a Google Voice number or temporary number just for job hunting.
Does LinkedIn Sell Your Data?
LinkedIn does use member data for advertising purposes, but claims they do not outright sell personal data like phone numbers to third parties. Here’s how it works:
- LinkedIn collects data like profile info, activity on site, etc. to personalize ads.
- They allow third-party advertisers to target demographics, interest groups, and more.
- But advertisers don’t receive individual user data directly from LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn handles targeting appropriate ads based on collected data.
So while LinkedIn does monetize user data for advertising in this aggregated, anonymized approach, they claim not to directly sell private contact info like phone numbers to outside parties.
Does LinkedIn Share Data with Microsoft?
Yes, LinkedIn does share certain member data with its parent company Microsoft after acquiring LinkedIn in 2016. Here is what type of data is shared and how:
- Microsoft can access some profile data like connections, interests, etc. to improve their products.
- Microsoft sign-in uses some LinkedIn identity/profile data to personalize Microsoft products.
- LinkedIn advertising data may be used by Microsoft for ads on Microsoft sites.
- But Microsoft still claims to keep identifiable contact data like phone numbers private.
LinkedIn does use data about you, but they make assurances that private information like phone numbers will not be shared without permission. But it’s still wise to limit what information you make public on any social network if you have privacy concerns.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can someone see my phone number if I apply for a job through LinkedIn?
Yes, if you apply for a job through LinkedIn, recruiters and hiring managers at that company will be able to see your full profile, including your phone number. This allows them to contact you about job opportunities. So your phone number is essentially shared as part of the job application process.
Can I remove my phone number completely from LinkedIn?
Yes, you can remove your phone number entirely from your LinkedIn profile so it is no longer visible to anyone. Simply go to your profile edit page, go to the contact info section, and delete your number from the phone field. However, you may need to add a phone number for purposes like applying to jobs or enabling certain account security features.
What if I’m getting unwanted calls or spam after putting my number on LinkedIn?
If you notice an increase in spam calls or texts after adding your phone number to LinkedIn, it’s possible your number was scraped from your profile and shared by third-party bots or scrapers. You can report these issues to LinkedIn. The best way to avoid this is to not add your personal phone number to your public profile. You can enter it in private account settings instead.
Can I set my profile so only certain connections see my phone number?
Yes, LinkedIn allows you to control what profile data different types of connections can see. Go to your profile visibility settings and under “Select who can see your email address and phone number” choose an option like “Only visible to your 1st-degree connections” to limit access. However, job recruiters may still see your full profile.
Does LinkedIn read or listen to my private messages or calls?
LinkedIn does take measures to keep private contact information like phone numbers secure and not shared without your consent. However, it’s impossible any online platform can guarantee full data privacy these days. The only way to keep your number fully private is not adding it to your profile. You must weigh the benefits of including useful contact info with the small risk of exposure or misuse when using a platform like LinkedIn.