Spokeo, people, search engine, and white pages have lately been popping up more frequently in Facebook news feeds. Friends are worried about privacy and warning their social networks that their information is on the site for anyone to look up. Many are posting the site link with information on how to remove yourself from Spokeo listings.
What Can Information be Found on Spokeo?
Spokeo offers free service and upgraded features for paid subscribers. The free search allows users to type in a name, narrow results by location and look at information. Users may be able to see that person age, sex, home ownership, address, wealth, and relatives. A satellite image of and map to their house is even available.
The paid service claims to look for more detailed findings. Among those are email addresses, social media profiles, photos, video, hobbies and estimated income.
Is Spokeo Violating Your Privacy?
What seems to be alarming some is that Spokeo collects personal information and turns it into a comprehensive report, where others can get a detailed picture of their lives and circumstances. There is a fear that the site can be used by stalkers and criminals to do harm.
Luckily, information the site gathers can be somewhat controlled. The people search engine only collects information that is readily available online, such as through real estate listings and social media profiles. So those who are worried about finding their information on Spokeo need to check the privacy settings on any social media or sites they use. Tightening privacy settings and being wary of what you post online should keep Spokeo from accessing the information you only intend for certain people.
Spokeo also offers a way to delete your name from search results. To remove a listing from Spokeo visit the site’s privacy page and fill out the form. You will need the URL to the listing you wish to remove.
Sites Similar to Spokeo
It is slightly ironic that people are being warned about Spokeo through Facebook. The social media giant has itself been battling privacy violation issues. Most notably in April, when Facebook changed everyone’s privacy settings to where almost all information was public. Users had to change their settings back to the amount of desired privacy.
Like Spokeo, Facebook allows users to search people and (for those with minimal or no privacy set) look up email, birthdays, photos and all postings.
Another site that shares some aspects of Spokeo is Paper.li. This site takes links shared by your Facebook and Twitter networks and puts them in newspaper format. Users can then share a link to the paper with their friends.