Learn more about Outlook Social Connector and privacy

The Microsoft Outlook Social Connector provides contextual information when working with your e-mail messages in Microsoft Outlook. This information may be enhanced with connections to social networks, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. This document describes how the Outlook Social Connector interacts with social networks and what it means for your privacy and the privacy of your social network friends and colleagues.

Overview

The Outlook Social Connector requests information on your behalf from each configured social network. The information is then available within Outlook. When communicating with these social networks, we take the following precautions to help protect your privacy and the privacy of the friends and colleagues you interact with:

  • When requesting information about a specific person on a social network, e-mail addresses are hashed before they are sent from Outlook to the social network. The social networks can only match the e-mail addresses if they are already known to the social network ( a social network such as Facebook won’t know a person’s e-mail address if that person’s e-mail address is not already associated with an account on Facebook).
  • A non-hashed e-mail address is only sent to a social network when you explicitly add a person to the social network with the Add button.
  • The information from a social network that is available in Outlook is shown based upon the person’s privacy settings for the social network. If the person has made any information available to you or publicly to everyone on the social network, then that information may also be seen in Outlook. To control the privacy settings for your information please view the privacy policy for the specific social network.

Details on how the Outlook Social Connector works

When viewing an e-mail message in Outlook, the Outlook Social Connector displays information such as past messages and attachments from the people in that Conversation. If a connection to a social network exists and you are logged into that social network, the Outlook Social Connector may ask the social network for information about those people. Information can include photos, status updates, activity feeds, and profile information (name, title, e-mail address, etc.).

Depending on the choices made by the creators of the social network add-in, when viewing a message, the Outlook Social Connector may ask the social network for information about everyone on the To and Cc lines of the message. The e-mail addresses for those people are hashed before they are sent to the social network to prevent disclosure of email addresses. Social networks can only match an e-mail address of a person who is already known on the social network. They may also decide to save the information in Outlook for your offline use. For more information about third-party privacy practices, contact the third-party add-in provider or read their privacy statement.

Public and private information

The Outlook Social Connector only displays information from a social network for those who have made information available based on their privacy settings on a social network. If you have made any information publicly available to everyone on a social network, then that information will be shown to everyone irrespective of whether or not those users are your friends or colleagues on the social network. Read the privacy statement and use the privacy controls of the social network so that you are only sharing the information that you want. You should also consider how other relationships and connections on social sites (fan pages, networks, connections, etc…) affect what and to whom your information is shown.

Terms of use and privacy with social networks

While the Outlook Social Connector allows you to view the information from the social networks that you belong to from within Outlook, you should read and be familiar with each social network’s own privacy statement, terms of use (TOU), and privacy controls.

More information about your privacy

See the Privacy Statement for Microsoft Office 2010 for more information about the privacy information and privacy controls of the Outlook Social Connector.

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