You should turn off PAV….now.
‘People Also Viewed’, it’s a list of 10 seemingly random people LinkedIn shows each and every browser who comes to your Profile.
Oh. I never realized I could turn it off.
Well maybe you should.
Is it a big deal if I leave it on?
It depends. If it’s populated with people you’d rather not be associated with, then yes, turn it off.
Gotchya. Why are those folks appearing on my profile page anyway?
Mainly to encourage users to continue to browse and explore.
Just checked – those folks in my PAV have nothing to do with me!
You’re a puppet on a string, you don’t have any control over who appears in your PAV.
Why is it called ‘Viewers of this profile also viewed’ and not ‘People Also Viewed’ in Settings?
To confuse you some more. I don’t know, sometimes LinkedIn just likes to mess with you.
Though the above conversation is fictional, I’ve had real life variations of it many times. I tell my clients to turn off PAV. Why? Because (1) it changes all the time (2) you have no control over the information (3) displayed very prominently next to your professional brand and (4) do you really need a fourth reason?
PAV is mysterious, confusing and downright weird. Is it compiled by people you view? Or by people who view you? Or by people who view people like you? Do colleagues automatically appear? When does it change and why? Can it be gamed?
“The People Also Viewed feature is a box that shows some of the other LinkedIn member profiles that viewers of your profile have also looked at. The information in the People Also Viewed feature doesn’t reveal any individual’s browsing history, including your own. If the profiles listed in the box are the same as the LinkedIn member profiles you’ve viewed, that’s just a coincidence. The People Also Viewed feature is updated multiple times each month, and shows a maximum of 10 profiles that viewers of your profile have also viewed. The member at the top of the box has had the most views by people who have also looked at your profile. In order for someone else to appear in this list, they’d have to be viewed more times than the people already shown in the box.” LinkedIn Help Center (Nov 2017):
Ok, so LinkedIn are telling us that PAV is supposedly made up of profiles that our browsers have also looked at. We don’t know who those mystery browsers are and it does not apparently “reveal” your or anyone else’s browsing history. The person in pole position of PAV is the person who’s been browsed the most out of all of the 10 people presented. So it’s kind of like a competitive mystery browser history section. Updates “multiple” times every month.
Still weird. Still potentially damaging. We’ve all seen the pervert’s paradise PAV (see below), visual proof, if you needed it, that a lot of guys use LinkedIn to try and hook up with women.
“If one of your goals on LinkedIn is to increase your visibility, this feature can significantly increase the likelihood that your profile will be discovered and viewed by other members.” LinkedIn Help Center (Nov 2017):
One of my goals on LinkedIn is to increase my visibility – but I’d like to do that in a way that I control. Besides, I don’t accept the premise that PAV increases my visibility at all. I’m also guessing that PAV can be gamed because bots and fake profiles.
To hide PAV on your profile : go to ‘Me’ > ‘Settings & Privacy’ > ‘Privacy’ tab, 5th option down “Viewers of this profile also viewed”, click on ‘change’ and slide to grey ‘No’.
But, if your PAV is comprised of professional celebs and people you’re impressed by, and you’re happy to bask in the glow, don’t change a thing. If on the other hand your PAV is full of competitors, odd choices, people you may not want to be associated with or don’t know, turn that sucker off. I personally prefer to have browsers land on my LinkedIn page consuming my info and focused entirely on me for the longest time, without any distractions or opportunity to bounce. I’m selfish that way.
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By Andy Foote