Privacy settings smackdown: Facebook vs. Twitter vs. LinkedIn vs. Google+

Hey, control freak, here's how the top 4 social networks let you manage your privacy.

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Not all privacy settings are created equal

Nearly three-quarters of people with access to the Internet use social networking sites, a number that has skyrocketed since early 2005, according to the Pew Research Center. As social networks continue to permeate our everyday lives, so do the privacy and security risks associated with our accounts.

Here's a look at how Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ stack up on user privacy and security settings, plus instructions for finding and updating these options to maintain control over your account. And if you prefer your privacy comparisons on one page, here they are in one handy chart.

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Limits profile visibility upon sign-up

Facebook: Facebook's default privacy setting for new users is set to Friends Only. To review or update this, visit Settings > Privacy > Who can see your future posts?

Twitter: By default, your posts are public. The only privacy setting to limit the audience of your tweets is to set your profile to Protected, which means only followers you approve will see your tweets. Settings > Security and privacy > Privacy > Tweet Privacy > Protect my Tweets.

LinkedIn: By default, your profile is public. To change this: Settings > Account > Helpful Links > Edit your public profile. You can choose to make your public profile visible to no one, or pick and choose which details you’d like to display.

Google+: By default, your posts are public. To change this setting, type the name of a Circle in the "To" field below your post before you publish it. More on audience selection here.

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Control how people can search for you

Facebook: Facebook lets others find your profile by searching for your email address and phone number. To change this, visit Settings > Privacy > Who can look me up? Click Edit next to the email address and phone number options.

Twitter: Settings > Security and privacy > Privacy > Discoverability. Check or uncheck the email address and phone number options, then click Save.

LinkedIn: Privacy & Settings > Profile > Privacy Controls > Manage who can discover you by your phone number.

Google+: You cannot control how people search for you.

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Control who can connect with you

Facebook: By default, anyone can add you as a friend on Facebook. To change this, visit Settings > Privacy > Who can contact me.

Twitter: You cannot choose who can connect with you; anyone can follow your posts. If your profile is protected, you will have to approve users on an individual basis.

LinkedIn: Privacy & Settings > Communications > Member Communications > Select who can send you invitations.

Google+: You cannot control who adds you on Google+.

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Control whether people can message you

Facebook: Messages may appear in two folders: your inbox and "other" folder. To control which messages appear in your inbox, visit Settings > Privacy > Who can contact me. Then, click Edit next to "Whose messages do I want filtered into my Inbox?"

Twitter: By default, you can receive Direct Messages from anyone you follow, and you can opt to allow anyone to send you a Direct Message. But you cannot turn off Direct Messages. See the Twitter Help Center for more on Direct Messages.

LinkedIn: Privacy & Settings > Communications > Member Communications > Select the types of messages you're willing to receive. You cannot disable all messages.

Google+: Settings > Profile, then uncheck the box next to "Allow people to send you a message from your profile."

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Control who can see your connections

Facebook: From your profile, click the Friends tab, then click the pencil icon next to Friend Requests and Find Friends. This set of options lets you choose who can see your friend list, people you follow and who follows you.

Twitter: You cannot change who can see your followers and people you follow.

LinkedIn: Privacy & Settings > Profile > Privacy Controls > Select who can see your connections.

Google+: Click the About tab on your profile, then click Edit inside the People box. You can choose to hide the people who have you in circles, as well as those who are in your circles.

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Prevent users from tagging you in posts

Facebook: Settings > Timeline and Tagging > How can I manage tags people add and tagging suggestions? The three options in this section let you apply settings for reviewing tags and audiences.

Twitter: You cannot prevent users from tagging you in a Twitter message.

LinkedIn: You cannot prevent users from tagging you in a post on LinkedIn, but you can delete the mention by moving your cursor over the linked name and clicking "remove". 

Google+: You cannot prevent users from tagging you in a post on Google+.

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Block users

Facebook: Settings > Blocking > Block users. Then, add the user's name or email address and click Block.

Twitter: Visit the user's profile, then click the gear icon on their page. Select Block from the menu, then click Block to confirm. You can view and manage the accounts you have blocked here: https://twitter.com/settings/blocked.

LinkedIn: Visit the user's profile and select "Block or Report" from the drop-down menu at the top of the profile summary.

Google+: Search for the user you want to block. On their profile, click the drop-down menu next to their name. Click Report/block, check the box next to Block, then click Done. Google will block them within 24 hours. For more on blocking, read Google+ Help.

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Opt out of photo tagging

Facebook: You cannot opt out of photo tagging, but you can review when friends tag you before it appears on your timeline. Settings > Timeline and Tagging > Who can add things to my timeline. Switch the second option to On.

Twitter: Settings > Security and privacy > Privacy > Photo tagging. Then click Save Changes at the bottom.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn does not support photo tagging.

Google+: You cannot opt out of photo tagging, but you can manage automatically approved tags. Settings > Photos and Videos. At the bottom of this section, type in the people whose tags of you are automatically approved to be added to the "Photos of you" section of your profile.

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Disable facial recognition

Facebook: Settings > Timeline and Tagging > How can I manage tags people add and tagging suggestions? Then, click Edit next to "Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded?"

Twitter: Twitter does not use facial recognition.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn does not use facial recognition.

Google+: Settings > Photos and Videos, then uncheck the box next to "Find my face in photos and videos and prompt people I know to tag me." For more on how Find my Face works, see Google+ Help.

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Opt out of search engine indexing

Facebook: By default, Facebook will let search engines link to your timeline. To opt out, visit Settings > Privacy > Who can look me up, then click Edit next to "Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?"

Twitter: You cannot opt out of search engine listings.

LinkedIn: You cannot opt out of search engine listings.

Google+: Settings > Profile > Uncheck the box next to "Help others discover my profile in search results."

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Review recent logins

Facebook: To review and manage where you're currently logged into Facebook, visit Settings > Security > Where You're Logged In.

Twitter: You cannot review where you've logged into Twitter.

LinkedIn: You cannot review where you've logged into LinkedIn.

Google+: To review and manage where you're currently logged into your Google Account (which includes Google+), open Gmail. Click Details below "Last account activity" at the bottom-right of the page.

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Set login alerts

Facebook: To receive an alert when anyone logs into your account from a new device or browser, visit Settings > Security > Login Alerts. You can choose from Facebook, email or text message alerts.

Twitter: You cannot set login alerts.

LinkedIn: You cannot set login alerts.

Google+: To receive an alert if Google suspects suspicious activity on your Google Account (which includes Google+), open Gmail. Click Details below "Last account activity" at the bottom-right of the page. Click Change next to "Alert preference" and select "Show an alert for unusual activity."

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Enable two-factor authentication

Facebook: You can use your phone as an extra layer of security to keep other people from logging into your account. To enable this, visit Settings > Security > Login Approvals.

Twitter: To enable login verifications: Settings > Security and privacy > Security > Login verification, then click Save Changes at the bottom.

LinkedIn: Privacy & Settings > Account > Settings > Manage security settings. Then, turn on two-step verification for sign-in and click Done.

Google+: You can enable two-step verification for your entire Google Account, which affects your Google+ profile. Start the process here

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Automatically supports a secure connection

Facebook: Facebook automatically supports a secure connection. You cannot opt out of this.

Twitter: Twitter automatically supports a secure connection. You cannot opt out of this.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn does not automatically support a secure connection. To enable this: Privacy & Settings > Account > Settings > Manage security settings. Check the box below "Secure connection," then click Done.

Google+: Google+ automatically supports a secure connection. You cannot opt out of this.

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Control connected applications

Facebook: To review which applications you've granted access to your account, visit Settings > Apps. To remove an app you no longer use, hover over it and click the X to delete it.

Twitter: Settings > Apps. Click Revoke Access next to the apps you wish to remove.

LinkedIn: Privacy & Settings > Groups, Companies & Applications > Applications > View your applications. Check the box next to the ones you'd like to delete, then click Remove.

Google+: Settings > Apps & activities > Manage apps & applications. To review and remove applications for your entire Google Account, visit your Account Permissions page.

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Limit data sharing with third-party apps

Facebook: Visit Settings > Apps. Hover over the application and click the pencil icon to view and edit the data you share with it. Then click Save.

Twitter: You cannot limit the information you share with applications.

LinkedIn: You cannot limit the information you share with applications.

Google+: You cannot limit the information you share with applications.

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Turn off location tracking

Facebook: For iOS devices, go to Settings, then tap Privacy > Location Services. Scroll to find Facebook, then adjust the settings. For Android, go to your phone's Settings > Location services, then turn off "Access to my location." You may lose access to some Facebook features if you turn off location services.

Twitter: From the desktop, visit Settings > Security and privacy > Privacy > Tweet location. Click Save Changes at the bottom.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn does not support location services.

Google+: Settings > Location Settings > Uncheck the box next to Enable Location Sharing. Be sure to review "Who can see your Pinpoint location" and "Who can see your City location" in this section as well.

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Delete location information

Facebook: Visit your Activity Log > Location History. You may need to click More on the left-side navigation to find it. Then, click Clear Location History at the top or remove individual posts.

Twitter: Settings > Security and privacy > Privacy > Tweet location > Delete all location information.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn does not support location services.

Google+: Settings > Photos and Videos. Uncheck the box next to "Show geolocation by default on newly shared albums." More on managing location information here. 

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Manage advertising

Facebook: Hover over an ad in your Facebook feed and click the drop-down menu. From here, you can remove it from your feed or hide all ads from that particular company. To view and manage your ad preferences, which determine the types of ads you see, select "Why am I seeing this?" from the menu, then click "Manage Your Ad Preferences." This page will let you add and remove advertisers based on category.

Twitter: You cannot manage the ads that appear in your feed.

LinkedIn: You cannot manage the ads that appear in your feed.

Google+: You cannot manage the ads that appear in your feed.

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Opt out of all advertising

Facebook: You cannot opt out of all advertising on Facebook, but you can opt out of social ads. These ads may indicate that you've liked a page. To opt out, visit Settings > Ads > Ads and Friends. Next to "Pair my social actions with ads for," choose "No one."

Twitter: You cannot opt out of all advertising on Twitter. You can turn off tailored ads, which will prevent Twitter from matching your account to information shared by ad partners. Settings > Security and privacy > Privacy > Promoted content. Uncheck the box and click Save.

LinkedIn: You cannot opt out of all advertising on LinkedIn. You can disable the use of cookies and similar technologies on third-party sites that target ads: Privacy & Settings > Account > Privacy Controls > Manage Advertising Preferences.

Google+: You cannot opt out of all advertising on Google+ or throughout your Google Account, but you can opt out of interest-based ads. See the Ads Help page for more on how to opt out and what it does and doesn't do. 

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Request an archive of your data

Facebook: Settings > General. At the bottom of the page, click "Download a copy of your Facebook data."

Twitter: Settings > Account > Content > Your Twitter archive.

LinkedIn: Privacy & Settings > Account > Helpful Links > Request an archive of your data.

Google+: You need to use Google Takeout to download your Google+ data. More on how to do that here.

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Delete your account

Facebook: Follow the instructions in Facebook's Help Center to permanently delete your Facebook account.

Twitter: Settings > Account. At the bottom of the page, click Deactivate my account. This puts your account in a queue for permanent deletion.

LinkedIn: Privacy & Settings > Account > Helpful Links > Close your account.

Google+: Settings > Disable Google+.