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Published on January 7th, 2014 | by Joanna Connell

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Ning

An online platform that lets user create customised social networks based around their brands or activities.  Network administrators have the option to set many features that affect their communities look and feel.  Ning is a paid service and users can opt to choose from one of three different plans or try the basic service for a free 14-day-trial period.

Signing up

Ning is a paid service that is available in three different packages which can be experienced for free by new users during a basic 14-day-trial period.  Before starting the trial period, you will need to create an account on the system using your email address.  The password policy on Ning only requires that the password be at least six characters long.  You can use a combination of letters and numbers to make your password safer.

Safety is in the details

Ning has a lot of security features to help protect its users and the online communities they create.  All connections are handled by a secure SSL connection and the website forces your browser to switch to the safer HTTPS browsing automatically.  Moreover, any communication sent through a Ning community, such as online messages, are also encrypted.  Group administrators can also block access to any user if they note any inappropriate activity and can manage privacy settings for the content they publish online.

Getting to the point

Security settings on Ning can all be managed from the administrator’s dashboard and access to settings can be modified but this varies according to the level of authority you are granted by the creator of the community.  You can access most security settings from the account settings menu, where you can configure basic features like editing your password and other details.

How is personal data used

Ning uses the information that you provide to customize your experience on the network and handle your requests while using the service.  Ning will also use your data to provide reports to you or others in your organization, but usage data is never disclosed in a way which is identifiable to your company or other users in your network.

Dropping out from the network

Unfortunately, deleting your Ning account is not an easy process and there is no straightforward way of doing it.  If you want to remove your data from Ning’s servers, you must contact each network that you are a member of and, if necessary, delete any publicly shared content.  Then submit a support ticket on your account dashboard stating your wish to have your account deleted.  If you are a network administrator, you can also contact Ning’s support service by phone to submit your cancellation request.

Safety record

There have been reports of hacking attempts on Ning accounts, however these attacks were directed at individual users and there weren’t any system-wide breaches.

Adding third party apps

Ning lets you interact with third party applications and web services and exchange data with them.  If you choose to connect third parties to your Ning account, personal information may be shared between the two services and its use will be determined by the third parties’ privacy policies.  It is therefore recommended that you review the privacy policy of any third party you interact with using your Ning account.

Tracking down your data

The ability to track down how your data is being used depends on the position you have on your Ning community.  However, there aren’t specific tools available that let users to easily see how their information is being used by the service.

 


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