There are a lot of good things about being famous, but there are a few not so good things too. – Sharon Stone
What is profile visibility?
Simply put, profile visibility means how “famous” you are on the internet and what information about you is visible publicly. A simple Google search for your name will often reveal the answer to that question.
You may ask, ‘why do I care?’. Well, for one, it is a public display of your personal information. The more “see-able” you are, the easier it is to steal your identity. Random people can gather information and impersonate you to carry out malicious activities on your behalf, or access your personal information – including financial access. This may create trust or legal issues within your personal and/or professional circle. Secondly, your publicly visible profile also uncovers some of your family and friends’ not-so-public information. Therefore, it is important to be aware about your visibility on the internet.
What could make me visible in the virtual space?
All your social media accounts, publicly available registries, non-anonymous online reviews posted by you on public websites, photo tags and hashtags incorporating your name make your profile more visible. In most cases, your digital footprint is everlasting, and it may not always be possible to control what you have already shared online.
How do I restrict the visibility of my profile?
Major online platforms and social media allow users to handle their profile visibility. Following are some ways to restrict being over-exposed.
You can choose the desired level of visibility – public / private / first level connections / second level connections, etc. – through the Settings page available on all these websites.
When your friends tag you on posts and photos, take time to review those tags.
Give thorough consideration before posting reviews or commenting on other people’s posts.
Additional resources to restrict your “searchability”
1. Login to your Facebook account and navigate to Settings and Privacy → Settings → Privacy
2. Review and modify the settings available under “Privacy Settings and Tools” to choose how other people can (or cannot) find you within and outside Facebook
a. Login to your Google account and navigate to Account → Home → Take the Privacy Checkup → Get started. Scroll down to Key privacy settings and further down to Control what others see about you → Edit your endorsements setting. Review and modify the setting “Based upon my activity, Google may show my profile name, profile photo, and activity in shared endorsements in ads.”.
b. Login to your Google account and navigate to Account → Personal Info → Choose what others see → Go to About me. Alternately, you may also use Account → People & sharing → Choose what others see → About me. Review and modify the settings to make your personal information private (Only you) or public (Anyone).
It is worth noting that restricting yourself from being searchable on the internet may limit your personal brand value too. Therefore, you should strike a good balance between overexposing your information and restricting it completely.
The worst thing about being famous is the invasion of your privacy. – Justin Timberlake