Social networking sites continue to refine their people finder tools — and some unintended ones are being exploited by savvy investigators. Linkedin, MySpace, Facebook all have internal search engines to find their member webpages. Linkedin and MySpace have multiple search engines, returning different results. (I demonstrate this in my presentation, Social Networking Sites: Investigating People On the Internet). Conducting the same search from a major search engine will block some sites set by the user to “private” but will return links to private profiles on public sites. The Internet has not been tamed.
Okay, on to Plaxo and their fairly recently introduced “Advanced People Search”. Here’s where an Internet researcher can gather intelligence on people within and outside of their contacts. Again, people review your privacy settings, the memory of which tends to fade over time!
At the advanced people search screen select “People” and enter a name. A list of users tells you whether you are connected to them. Select a name to see their profile, the public portion of their page and the connections they’ve established with other site users. You can also search people by school, company or job title and forward results to your email. Try your own name for a surprise.
I’m writing a longer version of this post for the FMS Research newsletter.