Outlook.com privacy: frequently asked questions

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How do I see people's Facebook updates and Tweets within my inbox?

As a result of Outlook’s partnership with Facebook and Twitter, you can see the public names and profile pictures of people from Facebook and Twitter at the top of the emails you receive from them. You can connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts to Outlook and see the latest updates from friends or Tweets of those you follow in Outlook’s people pane along the right hand side of your inbox. Once connected, we will show updates or Tweets in the people pane instead of advertisements.

How does the connection to Facebook and Twitter work?

When you open an email from someone we recognize on Facebook or Twitter, we show you their public name and profile picture from Facebook or Twitter and might suggest that you friend them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. For Facebook, we can recognize a profile for any email that is associated with a publicly searchable account. We’re able to recognize people on Twitter when they’ve associated their Twitter account with an email address from a Microsoft service (@live.com, for example), and their Twitter settings allow their account to be found by that email address.

When you choose to connect your Facebook or Twitter account to Outlook’s people pane, we will show you the latest updates from friends or Tweets of those you follow, right from your inbox; your address book will also be updated to show your Facebook friends or the people you follow on Twitter When you connect, we use Facebook’s API or Twitter’s public API to receive Facebook updates, Tweets, or other activity from those you follow on Twitter, and we temporarily cache this information to provide you with the feature. We also securely store the contact information of those you follow in your Outlook address book when you connect. You can connect or disconnect your Facebook or Twitter account to Outlook at any time by going to profile.live.com/services. If you disconnect, we will no longer cache that information from Facebook or Twitter.

What information is shared between Outlook and Facebook or Twitter?

To provide you with an enriched email experience, we use encrypted email addresses to search for accounts on Facebook and Twitter. We only use the public names, profile pictures, updates, Tweets, and other information we receive from Facebook or Twitter to deliver the service that we provide you. In addition, Outlook uses encryption to help protect the email addresses used to search for Facebook or Twitter accounts. You can turn off the feature by clicking “turn off” in the bottom of the people pane or update your Facebook or Twitter settings for searching for your account with your email address at any time.

When you connect your Outlook account toFacebook or Twitter, we use Facebook’s API to show Facebook updates from your friends or Twitter’s public API to show Tweets from those you follow on Twitter. We also securely store the profile information of the people you follow on Twitter or your friends on Facebook in your Outlook address book when you connect. You can connect or disconnect your Outlook account from Facebook or Twitter at any time by going to profile.live.com/services. If you disconnect, we will no longer receive the list of your friends on Facebook or the people you follow on Twitter and they'll be removed from your contact list.

How do I change my setting for whether Outlook shows me content from Facebook, Twitter, and other third-party networks?

You can change your Outlook setting for this feature at any time by clicking “turn off” in the bottom of the People pane.

How do I prevent my Facebook and Twitter information from appearing in Outlook?

Your Facebook or Twitter privacy controls have settings that determine whether others, including the Outlook people pane, can find your public Facebook or Twitter account by searching with your email address on file with those services. For information on how to change your Facebook or Twitter setting, see the help page for Facebook and here for Twitter. It might take a day or two for Outlook to reflect a new Facebook or Twitter setting.

Note that when people connect their Outlook account to Facebook or Twitter, they'll see the same information about you in the people pane that they would see on those services—nothing more. If people who already follow you on Twitter connect their Twitter account to Outlook, and they’ve included your Twitter user name in their contacts, they will continue to be able to see your Twitter name, profile picture, and latest Tweets in the people pane. Similarly, your Facebook friends will be able to see the information you share with them on Facebook, such as your name, profile picture, and latest updates.

Outlook isn’t showing me an email sender’s name and profile picture from Facebook or Twitter. Why not?

If you don't see the Facebook or Twitter name and profile picture of people who’ve emailed you, it’s because Outlook can't find them on those services. It might be because the sender’s email address on file with Twitter isn't from a Microsoft service, or because their Facebook or Twitter settings don’t allow their account to be found by their email address. It might also be that you have multiple entries in your contact list for the sender. Often, linking those entries can solve this problem. Go to the People page, search and select all of the contact entries for the person, and click link.

If you want to see more information from people you know, connect your Facebook or Twitter account to Outlook.com to see the Facebook or Twitter name, profile picture, and latest updates from friends or Tweets of people you follow, right from your inbox. You can easily connect by going to profile.live.com/services.

Why does Outlook ask me to join Facebook or Twitter when I’m already on those services?

Outlook might suggest you join Facebook or Twitter if it can’t find you on those services. If you’re already on Facebook or Twitter and would like to see information from those services, go to profile.live.com/services to connect your Facebook or Twitter account to Outlook.

Why does Outlook suggest I friend someone on Facebook or follow someone on Twitter when I’m already a friend or following the person?

Outlook might not recognize your Facebook or Twitter account from your email alone. To correct this, go to profile.live.com/services to connect your Facebook or Twitter account to Outlook. Outlook’s People pane will then allow you to see their latest updates or Tweets from your inbox.

Why do I only sometimes see advertisements next to the mail I read?

Instead of ads, the People pane shows relevant information about email senders when they’re in your contact list or can be found on Facebook or Twitter.

Where can I learn more about the privacy policies of Outlook, Facebook, and Twitter?

At Microsoft, we work hard to protect your privacy and while delivering software and services that give you the performance, power, and convenience you want.

For more help with keeping your information safe, contact customer support.