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Meinverzeichnis / meinVZ

meinVZ and the network

Suggest to friends

meinVZ and the network

By registering with meinVZ you become part of our community – a place where you can keep in touch with old friends, make new acquaintances, share photos, and join groups to discuss a wide range of interesting topics.

meinmeinVZ is open to anyone who is of at least 16 years old, enjoys interacting in this way with other community members, and has accepted and abides by the General Terms and Conditions, the Consent to the Use of Personal Data, and the Code of Conduct for meinVZ.

meinVZ is connected to studiVZ, the most successful online German language platform for students. Both platforms are operated by VZ Netzwerke Ltd. Together, meinVZ and studiVZ form an integrated network allowing each user to choose exactly what information to share with other users and how closely to be connected with them.

All meinVZ users automatically have their accounts connected to studiVZ users. studiVZ users, however, have to provide their consent before their accounts are connected to meinVZ, and will not be visible in meinVZ until they do this. (There are only two exceptions to this: Firstly, if a studiVZ user moves his or her account across to meinVZ, they will still be able to see the name, profile photo and university of their friends who are still in studiVZ and have not yet connected their accounts to meinVZ. Secondly, users that have created groups in studiVZ, and then moved across to meinVZ, will still be able to see the names of the group members, as they would otherwise not be able to administer the group properly.)

Why are there different rules for meinVZ and studiVZ? Most studiVZ members had already joined the network before meinVZ was launched, so we want to be sure that they themselves agree to connect with meinVZ, rather than us deciding for them. Once studiVZ users have connected their accounts to meinVZ, the same rules will apply to them as to the meinVZ users: Their visibility on each platform will be controlled by their privacy settings. These settings allow users to select which other users from either platform can see them, differentiated according to friendship status and platform membership. More details can be found in this document under “Privacy”.

Data protection - topic overview

Please click a topic for further details…

My Information

To register with meinVZ you must provide the following information, without which the registration process cannot be completed. This obligatory data is:

  • First name and surname
  • Date of Birth
  • Sex
  • Region
  • Email address
  • Password.

To access meinVZ you need to enter the email address and password you provided when you registered. This information is referred to as your “login details”.

When you access the network, information regarding your use of the site will be transferred by your internet browser and saved in server log files. The following information will be saved:

  • IP address (Internet Protocol address) of the computer used to login
  • Your user number in the network
  • Name of page accessed
  • Date and time page was accessed
  • Referring URL (originating URL); URL of the site from the which the user has come
  • Volume of data transferred
  • Report on whether the site was accessed successfully
  • Session identification number

Every time you login to the network the following information will be saved in the so-called login data-records.

  • Date and time of login
  • Your user number in the network
  • IP address (Internet Protocol address)
  • Number of your session cookie
  • Session identification number

This information is assessed anonymously to…

  1. further improve our adverts and make them more user friendly,
  2. identify and address faults quicker,
  3. better manage our server capacities.

We use the server log files to analyse the network load at peak times and to find out how much data is being generated by the site. This helps us to recognise and address problems such as faulty links.

When you use your login details to register or login to meinVZ, the date and time will be saved, in addition to the respective login details.

Your data will only be evaluated for advertising purposes if you want to receive target-group specific advertising. You can change your settings for this at any time in “Privacy” under Advertising settings. The information that is evaluated for advertising purposes is outlined below in the chapter “Advertising”. You can find out exactly what target-group specific advertising is on our info-page How does the advertising on meinVZ work?.

The following applies to comments you have made on the network:
Comments on photos, notice boards, and on the grapevine will not be automatically deleted if you end your friendship with someone, or someone ends their friendship with you. If you have made a comment, you won't be able to access it once you have ended your friendship with the profile owner. If you're concerned by this, the best thing to do is ask the profile owner to delete your comment. You may continue to receive email notifications informing you that someone has commented on a photo or grapevine entry that you have previously commented on. Because the photo or grapevine entry is only visible to friends – and your friendship has been ended – you will not be able to see what happens on the photo or grapevine from that point onwards.
Your comments will remain on the network even if you delete your profile. They will be anonymous, however, and will appear as "Deleted user wrote". Your profile photo will be removed.

Cookies

If you're using the network then cookies are at work. Cookies are alphanumerical identification symbols that are temporarily saved in the memory (“session cookies”) or permanently saved on the hard drive (“permanent cookies”). Cookies allow the websites that you have already visited to recognise you again.

There are different types of cookies:
Session Cookies are saved in your memory only for the period of time that you are on the website. They are automatically deleted when you close your browser. Permanent cookies are saved on your hard drive for an indefinite period. Temporary cookies are, like permanent cookies, saved on your hard drive, but delete themselves after a set period of time.

We use session cookies to ensure that, once you have logged in, your session remains open. The session cookie you save tells us that you have already logged in to meinVZ. This is the only way that we can show you the correct pages. We also save permanent cookies on your hard drive. These are used to ensure that some of our features, such as the chat box, continue to work effectively Temporary cookies are also needed for certain functions – such as the “remain logged in” feature in meinVZ.

Our partners Adition and nugg.ad also use cookies. Detailed information about what they do and how you can withdraw your consent from their use of cookies can be found under the heading “Advertising”. Our advertising partners may also use cookies, but do so at their own responsibility.

In your browser settings you can select that the saving of cookies is only allowed with your approval. Most browsers will, under their default settings, allow all cookies. Through your browser settings, or by using other appropriate programs, you can also choose to delete cookies at any time or can ensure that cookies are not allowed from the very beginning. If you do not allow cookies from meinVZ you will not be able to use the VZ-networks, or will have only limited use.

Cookies are an important issue. If you want to know more about who saves which cookies on your computer, how long they are saved there for, what they do there, and how you can delete them, you can find out much more about this subject on the internet.

My Homepage

Your homepage is the base of your activities on meinVZ. Here you can find out what’s going on – in meinVZ as a whole and amongst your friends in particular.

Telegrams

meinVZ can send telegrams to all registered users. These messages appear at the very top of your homepage.

Grapevine

What’s going on in your network?

The grapevine shows you, at any time, what’s happening amongst your friends. What new friendships are there? Have any photos been uploaded? Who’s added new Apps? You can also view your friends’ most recent status updates and enter a status update yourself above the grapevine under “What are you up to?”. Comments can be made on each status update – meaning that your friends can join in the discussion. Details on the visibility of your comments can be found below in the corresponding paragraph.

Which information do you want to appear?

Above your grapevine you can select exactly which activities you would like to see: an overview of everything, or only certain activities. If you find the grapevine entries of some of your friends annoying, you can place them in quarantine. Their activities will then no longer appear to you unless you “Pardon” them in your “Privacy” under Quarantine. Your friendship will remain unaffected and the user concerned will not be informed.

Visibility of your activities in the grapevine

Your own status updates and activities will only be visible in the grapevine if you have selected this in your privacy settings. For each individual type of activity (uploaded photos, friends added, App added, etc.) you can select who can see them from the following:

  • No-one,
  • Selected friends (decided by you using a special selection box), or
  • All of your friends.

Your entries will be visible for 60 days – after which they will be automatically removed. If you would like to delete one of your grapevine entries before this, go to the full view of the grapevine or to the “Grapeview” – both links can be found above the grapevine on your homepage. There you can view the 100 most recent entries that have appeared in your grapevine – there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to find the entry you want to delete there.

Visibility of comments

The visibility of comments is dependent on who can see the grapevine entry to which they belong. Everyone who is able to see the original entry can also see the comments – even if they are not friends with each other.

Comments are therefore visible to:

  • The individual who made the status update and all of his/her friends who can see the original entry
  • The individual who left the comment

Linking the grapevine to your mobile and/or Twitter

Under “My Account” you can additionally link your grapevine to your mobile and update it using the SMS service. You can also connect your grapevine to Twitter. Your grapevine entries will then be visible on your Twitter account and can be found through search engines. Your Tweets will appear directly on your grapevine – displayed with a Twitter logo – and will therefore be visible to all of your friends in the VZ-Networks.

Please note: You can delete the five most recent entries at any time by clicking on “Previous entries” under “I’m currently” in your profile. Once deleted, these entries will be removed from both “I’m currently…” and the grapevine. If they have been transferred to Twitter, however, they will remain visible there until you have also deleted them there – we can’t do that from our platform.

Friendship Requests

Your confirmed friends will see more of your information than other users. Only friends, for example, will be able to see your contact details (if you have entered them in your profile). You can select which information you would like displayed to everyone, and which to just friends, by changing your settings under “Privacy”.

When you receive a friendship request you should think carefully about whether or not you accept it. If you decline a friendship request, the user who invited you will not be informed.

Birthday Reminders

You are required to enter your date of birth when you register. Unless you choose to limit the visibility of your birthday under “Privacy”, the users on your friend list will be informed that it is approaching; these reminders will be posted from five days in advance.

Last visitors

At the bottom of your homepage you can see who has recently visited your profile. Other users will also be able to see when you’ve visited their profile. If you would rather not be seen, you can choose to be invisible as a visitor by going to “Privacy”.

Do you know…?

The “Do you know…?” section displays other meinVZ users to you on your homepage. The “Region” tab randomly selects and displays people who live in the same region as you. Under “Friends’ friends” you can see people you’re more likely to know, because they’re friends with your friends. In each case you will see the user’s profile picture and name. You are also visible to other users in the section, unless you change your settings under “Privacy”.

My Profile

Your profile is the page on which you can display information about yourself. There are two main versions of your profile, and it’s important you understand the differences between the two:

Full Profile

Your full profile contains all of the information that you enter about yourself. If, for example, you complete the “Employment” and “Personal” sections, this information will appear in your full profile. The only exception to this rule involves your contact details, which are only ever visible to friends. Please note that when you register with the network, your basic settings will make your full profile visible to all other users.

If you do not want all of your information to be visible to everyone, you can select that your full profile is only visible to certain users (for example your friends), by going to “Privacy”. Anyone you don’t allow to see your full profile will instead see your limited profile.

Limited Profile

Your limited profile will show your name, region, and profile photo. This information cannot be removed. Further information will be displayed in your limited profile if, and only if, it is selected in the relevant list in “Privacy”.

Please note: Ignored users can only see your name, region, and profile photo. Ignored users will never be able to see more than this, regardless of all other settings. For more details, see the “Reporting and Ignoring” chapter below.

Connection

The “Connection” section on other users’ profiles shows you which shared friends connect you to the profile owner. You may also appear as a connection between friends. If, however, you have selected under “Privacy” that certain users are unable to see who you are friends with, these users will not be able to see your friends as connections either.

General Information

The “General Information” section displays certain obligatory information (your name, region, sex and birthday), as well as any extra information you choose to enter here. By going to “Privacy”, you can select if this information is only visible to your friends or if it can be seen by everyone. These settings can be determined separately for meinVZ and studiVZ.

Please be aware that, regardless of your settings, your limited profile will always remain visible to all users. Your limited profile will always display your name, region, and profile photo. Further information will be displayed in your limited profile if, and only if, it is selected in the relevant list under “Privacy”.

Some of the information in your profile will be displayed in a different colour. This means it is linked. By clicking on this information you can see which other members in your region have the same entry in this field. Click again and you can see those members of either the meinVZ platform or the whole network who have the same entry.

You are required to enter your date of birth when you register. This will then be displayed in your profile for all users to see. If you don’t want your date of birth to be displayed you can go to “Privacy” and select that it is hiddenAccordion, or that the date is displayed but not the year.

Contact Details

The contact details you enter will only ever be visible to confirmed friends, irrespective of all other settings.

It is important to stress that your basic settings will allow every user to read all other information you have entered. Please go to “Privacy” if you would like to limit the visibility of other information.

Employment

The “Employment” section allows you to enter your current job and the positions you’ve had in the past. This means that you can not only let your friends and other users know where you’re working, but can also look for your current or former workmates on the network – company names are automatically linked.

Please remember that meinVZ is open to everyone, and that you will need to restrict access to your full profile if you want to prevent users from seeing your “Employment” section. This information is automatically displayed in your full profile, but is only displayed in your limited profile if you have selected it under “What is visible in my limited profile?”, in “Privacy”.

Profile Photo

Your profile photo is always visible to all members of the network.

Suggest Profiles to Friends

You can suggest certain profiles (your own or those of other users) to your friends – in the VZ-Network itself or by email to people who have not yet registered. The latter must first register before they are able to see the profile.

Notice Board

Your notice board works just like a real notice board – you can write on it yourself, and people can leave messages for you there. These messages are always visible to all users who can see your notice board. Under “Privacy” you can select who can see and use your notice board, and whether it is also displayed in your limited profile.

Once you have deleted an entry on your notice board it cannot be recovered. You can delete the messages you leave on other notice boards but, whilst you and other users can no longer see them, they will remain visible to the notice board owner until he or she decides to delete them.

Be careful: Comments will not be automatically deleted if you end your friendship with someone, or someone ends their friendship with you. If you have written a comment on a notice board this means that you won't be able to access this comment once you have ended your friendship with the profile owner. If you're concerned by this, the best thing to do is ask the profile owner to delete your comment from the notice board.

Recent update

Your most recent status update tells people what you’re doing, how you feel, or what’s going through your head. If you want to add a new status update, you can do this at any time in the status box on your homepage. You can decide in “Privacy” who is able to see your status updates.

Be careful: Comments will not be automatically deleted if you end your friendship with someone, or someone ends their friendship with you. If you have commented on a grapevine entry this means that you won't be able to access the comment once you have ended your friendship with the profile owner. You may receive an email notification informing you that someone has commented on a grapevine entry you have already commented on. Since comments on the grapevine are only visible to friends – and you have ended your friendship with the profile owner – you won't be able to view the earlier comments on this grapevine entry. If you're concerned by this, the best thing to do is ask the profile owner to delete your comment from under their grapevine entry.

I like

The special profiles that you like at the moment are listed on your profile under “I like”. This list is visible to your friends and anyone who is able to see your full profile. You can find further information about special profiles on our special profiles info page.

My friends

Your full profile contains a link to an overview of all your friends. Your full profile will also display your friends divided into different categories according to criteria such as “region” or “university”. Any user who can see your full profile will be able to see the profile photos, names, and regions (or universities) of your friends.

If you want certain users to be unable to see who you are friends with, you can select that they are only able to see your limited profile. You can then remove the link to your friends from your limited profile by going to “Privacy”. More information can be found in this document underneath the “Privacy” heading.

Photo Albums and Photo Links

Users viewing your full profile are able to click on a link that will display a list of your photo albums. They will only be able to see the actual photos themselves, however, if you have made them visible under “Edit album information” in the album concerned.

Your full profile also contains a link to the list of photos that you’ve been linked to (your own and other users’). Users viewing your full profile can only see the actual photos, however, if the photo owner allows this.

You can prevent people from seeing this information by blocking their access to your full profile: both these links can be removed from your limited profile. More details can be found in this document under “My Photos”.

Groups

Information about groups can be found under “My Groups”.

My Friends

Friends

You can become friends with any member of the network – and add them to the overview of “My Friends” on your profile. The other person just needs to agree to this. Once your friendship has been confirmed you and the other user are officially “friends”. If the request is not answered, or is declined, nothing happens and you remain connected only through other individuals. If a friendship request is declined, the individual that made the request will not be informed.

Every member of the network can see who is friends with whom. Under “Privacy” you can remove the area “My Friends” so that it does not appear to users on your limited profile.

You can also select in your privacy settings that your friends will be notified through the grapevine when you add someone as a friend. For this and for each other type of activity you can choose who is able to see it from the following options: “No-one”, “Selected friends only”, or “All of your friends”. Further details on this topic can be found above in “My Homepage” under the heading “Grapevine”.

Those of your confirmed friends who are able to see who you are friends with will also be able to see you as a “connecting friend”. The connection between a user and the owner of the profile they are visiting is displayed at the top of the page. Such connections are also displayed when users visit the “Shared friends” section on other profiles. If you are friends with both of these users – the profile owner and the profile visitor – you can appear as the “connecting friend”.

Any user who is able to see who you are friends with will also be able to see the following information:

  • the number of friends they share with you
  • the number of friends you have in your own region
  • the number of friends you have in other regions
  • the number of friends you have who are at university (i.e. the number of friends you have in studiVZ)

Friend lists

To give you a better overview of your friends you are able to organise them into lists. You can create ten such lists and divide your friends between them. Neither your friends nor other users are able to see who is in which list.

Lists are particularly useful if you want to send a message to a number of your friends at the same time – messages can be sent to an entire list. You can also determine your privacy settings according to lists, and decide which of your friends are able to see your activities in the grapevine.

I like

The special profiles that you like at the moment are listed in your “My Friends” section under “I like”. This list is visible to your friends and anyone who is able to see your full profile. You can find further information about special profiles on our special profiles info page.

My Photos

You can create photo albums on the network, which are then visible to other users. By uploading photos you are confirming that you have the exclusive rights to use them, that their publication does not violate statutory provisions, public policy and/or third party rights, and that they conform to the network’s Code of Conduct.

Create a new photo album

When you create a new photo album you should go to “Edit album information” and select who can see the pictures. These settings can be selected independently for the meinVZ and studiVZ platforms, and allow you to choose whether an album is visible to everyone, to just your friends (on either platform), or just to you. The visibility of each album can be determined and altered independently.

You can also enable a preview of photos you have uploaded to appear in the grapevine. Simply change your settings accordingly in “Privacy” under “Who can see my activities in the grapevine?”.

Attention: Any users whom you allow to see your pictures are able to copy them through their browser and either save them locally or save the corresponding URL. This means that users can then view the photos when they are not logged in to meinVZ and are able to pass the pictures, or the links, to non-members. This is no different in our network than in other online communities and websites, but it is important you are aware of it.

Linking photo albums to groups

You are able to link each of your photo albums to a group. Once it has been linked, an album will automatically be visible to all members of the group – regardless of the visibility settings that you have selected for it under “My Photos”. This applies even if the album was originally visible to “everyone” and you then restrict its visibility after having linked it to the group. The visibility settings you have selected will only be valid for the group members again if you delete the link.

Group albums are not visible to non-members of the group – they can find out under “overview” whether or not a group is linked to albums, but are unable to see them.

Linking people to photos

An additional function allows users to be linked to photos. You can link your friends to your own photos and to the photos of other users, and they can do the same to you. Links connect the profile of a user to the picture concerned. In order for a photo link to be added, both the user who would like to add the link and the user who is being linked must be able to view the picture. If these circumstances change (if the album owner alters the album visibility, for example), the link will be deleted. If you are about to link your friend, please be sure that he or she is happy with this, and that by adding the link you are not infringing on any statutory provisions, public policy, and/or third party rights.

If you are unhappy about being linked to a photo, you can remove the link yourself. Simply go to the corresponding album, click on the photo, and select “Remove my link”. The owner of the photo is able to remove all links.

Worried about someone linking you in an embarrassing picture? Don’t worry, you can decide whether or not your friends are able to link you under “Privacy”. If you do allow them to link you, you can choose to be notified by email each time you are linked. Further, you can select that links will only appear once they have been approved by you, and in this instance you will be informed of links awaiting approval by a notification on your home page.

Comments on photos

Anyone who is able to see your photos can also comment on them. As owner of the photo you are able to delete individual comments if you don't like them, just as you can with notice board entries.

This also means that you are able to comment on any photos that you are able to see in the network.

Please note: Comments are not automatically deleted if you end your friendship with a particular user, or if it is ended by this user. If you have left a comment underneath a private photo, therefore, you won't be able to access it once you have ended your friendship with the photo owner. It may also be the case that you receive an email notification informing you that someone has commented on a photo that you have already commented on. Because these photos are only visible amongst friends – and the friendship has been ended – you will not be able to see anything that happens to the photo in the future. If you don't like this, the best thing to do is ask the photo owner to delete the comment that you have left under the photo, and you will then no longer receive any email notifications regarding it.

Rating photos

Anyone who can see your photos is also able to rate them. Users can do this by clicking on different symbols – on the "thumbs up" symbol ("I like") or on the "thumbs down" symbol ("Not for me").

Underneath each photo will be shown how many users like that photo. Clicking on the number opens a pop-up, which displays all the users who like the photo. Negative ratings will be shown up to the number 10. If more than ten users choose "Not for me" the number will appear as "10+". This number cannot be clicked on - that is, it is not possible to see who clicked on the "thumbs down" symbol ("Not for me").

If you have rated a photo yourself, either "You like this photo" or "This photo is not your thing" will appear under the photo. If you want to take a rating back, simply click on the link "Return" and your rating will be deleted.

Your “Embedded photos” album

All photos that are uploaded to be embedded on notice boards, in group entries, etc., are saved here. If you delete a picture in this album, it will automatically disappear from all of the locations where it is embedded. Since this is not a normal photo album, you cannot link people to photos in here. The “Embedded photos” album is only ever visible to you.

My Festivals

The function “My Festivals” is based on a cooperation between VZ Netzwerke Ltd and festivalguide.de. Hundreds of festivals across the entire German-speaking area have their own profiles on meinVZ. You can find the most important information concerning each festival and exchange messages on the notice board.

As a user you can show that you’re a fan of a particular festival by linking it to your profile – just click on “I like” under the festival profile picture. You will then appear on the festival’s profile page in the section “People who like …” and everyone can see that you’ll be going. The festival will then also appear to other users in the section “I like” on your profile and under “My Friends” – if they are able to see your full profile.

More information can be found under My Festivals.

My Groups

Visibility for users of the network

If a group is visible to you this means that you are able to join it (or request membership). Regardless of whether or not you are a member, you will be able to see the group name, the group description, and any recent news in addition to the group’s website and office (providing this information has been entered). You can also see how many albums are linked to it. If you want to read the forum threads, view the albums that are linked, and take part in the general group activity, you must join the group.

All users of the network can see who the creator of a group is and who its members are; unless the corresponding settings are adjusted. In the case of studiVZ groups that have been opened to meinVZ, however, it may be that you cannot contact, and are not able to see the names and profile photos of, those studiVZ users who have not yet connected their accounts to meinVZ.

As the creator of a group you can determine its visibility to other users. It’s your decision: should it be visible in both platforms, only in meinVZ, or only in your region. studiVZ users have the equivalent options for their groups. Users that have created groups in studiVZ and then moved across to meinVZ will still be able to see all the names of the group members, as they would not otherwise be able to administer the group properly.

Visibility of linked photo albums

If you link one of your photo albums to a group it will automatically be visible to all members of the group – regardless of the visibility settings that you have selected for it under “My Photos”. This applies even if the album was originally visible to “everyone” and you then restrict its visibility after having linked it to a group. The visibility settings you have selected will only be valid for the group members again if you delete the link.

Group albums are not visible to non-members of the group – they can find out under “overview” whether or not a group is linked to albums, but are unable to see them.

Visibility in your profile

As a group member you are able to adjust whom your membership is visible to under “Membership settings”. You cannot, however, join a group completely anonymously: membership of a group will always be visible to other group members.

If you’ve selected that your membership of a group is not visible to other users, this group will appear on your profile in grey (this means that it will not appear to users visiting your profile).

Group search

Our groups search allows you to find groups within the whole network, as long as they are visible to you, by using keywords. Please bear in mind that some groups can only be seen by users in a particular platform (studiVZ or meinVZ), or from a particular region.

Our search within a group function allows you to look for specific content inside a particular group – in the thread titles or in the entries themselves. The “expanded search” lets you decide if you want to look for corresponding entries of your friends or of any group members. The results can be sorted according to relevance or date.

Writing comments

You can write a comment in any group that you are a member of. The corresponding symbols underneath the entry field also let you integrate pictures, videos, App content, profiles, or other groups into your comment. Click on "Post" and the comment will appear in the thread you selected from that forum.
If you want to edit or delete your comment, simply click on the "Delete comment" or "Edit comment" links underneath the corresponding comment.

Please note:
The group creator is able to prevent comments in groups/threads from being edited or deleted. If you don't like this, the best thing to do is ask the group creator to delete your comment.

My Apps and Games

Apps are additional functions that give you a wider range of things to do on meinVZ. They normally take the form of games, but they can also be serious functions such as fundraising campaigns or promotional offers. They are usually developed by external providers and then offered for meinVZ members to use.

Apps operate within our network. You can integrate them in your profile. To be able to work, they need information about you – that’s why there are so-called VZCards in meinVZ. Here you must enter the information an App needs from you to be able to work. You can edit or delete your VZCards at any time in “My Account” under Connections.

Please note the following important points:

  • All entries made by you on your profile are only visible inside our network. Apps offered by external providers only receive the information you yourself provide to them through a VZCard.
  • meinVZ never passes information about you on to the Apps of external providers. You decide whether or not you pass information on using VZCards.

To find out exactly how VZCards work, have a look under “Connections to external providers” in the section “Connections and VZCards”.

Apps and their use

As explained above, an App is a function that exists only within our network and that you can integrate in your profile. Most Apps are developed by external providers and then made available for the members of our network to use.

Finding and suggesting Apps

You can find out about interesting Apps through the grapevine (if one of your friends has added a new App), on the profiles of other users, in groups, or under “My Apps and Games”. One click on “I want this” adds the App to your profile and places it under “My Apps” for you to access and use it at any time. You can add your favourite App to your profile by going to the App settings and selecting it as your eyecatcher. It will then be visible to all users whom you have allowed to see that you have added it to your profile.

You can recommend Apps to your friends by selecting in your privacy settings that your friends will be notified through the grapevine when you add a new App. Invitations enable you to be automatically connected to your friends within the App, as long as they agree to this. This is particularly useful for group games and competitions, for example. If you are invited to join an App that requires a VZCard, it will only receive information about you once you have assigned it a VZCard and added it to your profile.

Installing and removing Apps

If you have clicked on “I want this” you will be directed to the App installation. All the important information about the App can be found on the installation homepage:

  • who the provider is and how you can reach them
  • which of your information, if any, the App needs to be able to work

You can provide an App with the information about you that it needs to function using a VZCard. If you have already created a VZCard you can choose to assign it to this App. You also have the option of creating a new VZCard – to do this you must complete the requested fields. All the important information concerning “VZCards” can be found in the section “Connections with external providers”, under the heading “Connections through VZCards”.

You can then decide who is able to see you are using the App: “Everyone”, “Only your friends”, or “No one”. These settings apply to two different aspects of visibility:

  • On your profile the App is visible to – depending on these settings – “Everyone”, “Only your friends”, or “No one”.
  • In addition to this, the settings apply to the links to your real profile inside the App: Everyone who is able to see that you are using the App is also able to identify you inside the App. To these users, your VZCard identity will be “dissolved”, meaning that by clicking on your VZCard for “Superman33” they will be directed to your real profile. They will also be able to send you messages and leave notice board entries through the App.

Please note: The visibility settings serve to protect your real identity. Your VZCard identity is always visible to all users of this App (your alias “Superman33”, your photo (if applicable), and any other information you have provided to the App through the VZCard). If you would like to use an App anonymously, you will need to change the visibility settings accordingly and also decide which information you enter on the VZCard.

Whether the App provider is allowed to send you information about the App depends on your settings in What can the App do. You can change these settings at any time.

The notifications may be sent as App notifications or alternatively through email. This depends on the App provider – the sending of emails is undertaken by VZ, so you do not need to give your email address to the provider in order to receive these emails. With all Apps, whether or not you receive emails depends on your general "Settings for the information I am sent by VZ Netzwerke Ltd". Even if you have selected the boxes in the App settings, if you have not agreed to receive emails from VZ you will not be sent e-mail notifications from Apps.

Once you have clicked on Add, the App will be added to your profile under “My Apps”. In their overview “My Friends”, your friends will see a note next to your photo informing them you have just added a new App.

If you no longer want to use the App you can simply delete it – visit the App under “My Profile” and then “My Apps”, or “My Apps and Games” in the menu on the left, and in the settings (spanner icon) click on “Delete”. The App will then be removed from your profile. The “Delete” link can also be found under Connections in “My Account”. If you had assigned a VZCard to the App, this connection will also be deleted. Information that has already been transferred cannot be deleted by us. We do ask external providers to delete your information, but to be certain you can also contact them directly. The service provider’s contact information can be found in the App under “Responsible provider”.

If you don’t just want to delete an App, but also want to prevent it from sending you invitations, you can choose to ignore it. This can be reversed at any time under “My Account" and then Blocked connections.

As providers we also have the option to block an App indefinitely. If this happens the App cannot be used again until it is either reactivated. We may also remove an App from the network completely. For you, this would have the same effect as if you had deleted the App.

Internal Apps

Internal Apps are offered by meinVZ directly, which means they are governed by our own VZ data protection guidelines and may therefore access all of the information on your profile. Your information will under no circumstances be given to third parties.

We use internal Apps to offer different VZ services that improve the functionality of our network – this may include a calendar App, for example, or an App for “favourite places”. For these Apps it is important to note the following: Internal Apps are as much a part of the VZ network as the message service and gruscheling.

Apps with web visibility

Some Apps have so-called “web visibility” and are therefore visible to the general public on the internet. This means that information can be exchanged between providers, users, and search engines – also outside the VZ-Networks.

This is particularly necessary for interactive applications, such as games that are also offered on other internet sites. To be able to play as a meinVZ user against users from other sites you must both be able to see each other, i.e. have some basic information about each other. This information is provided through VZCards – just like with normal Apps. To help you recognise Apps with web visibility straight away, they are illustrated by a globe symbol.

Please note, for Apps with web visibility, the information requested through the VZCard may later appear in different places on the internet, for example in the search results of someone using Google or another search engine.

If you are adding these Apps to your profile, you should assign them an individual VZCard. If you use the same VZCard for multiple Apps with and without web visibility, the information entered there is accessible to all of the external providers. Each may only use the information requested from you, however. Providers are contractually obliged to act in this way. If you suspect that an App is using more of your data than it is allowed to, please report this to us.

We recommend submitting individual VZCards for different Apps with web visibility, which will mean they have no more information about you than necessary.

All important information on the subject of “VZCards” can be found in the section “Connections with external providers” under the heading “Connections through VZCards”.

Events

Events and Birthday Calendar

In your events and birthday calendar you can create events, respond to invitations, and see an overview of all your friends’ birthdays.

Under Announcements you can see open invitations from friends. Once you have answered an invitation – with “attending”, “maybe” or “not attending” – the event will automatically be included in your calendar.

Under the heading List you can see an overview of all the calendar entries in the form of a list, arranged according to date.

The different types of events (own events, friends’ events, and birthdays) appear in different colours. A colour key can be found below the calendar.

If you click on a birthday you will be taken to the profile of the person who’s birthday you clicked on. If you click on an event, you will be taken to the event description.

Answering invitations

Your open invitations will be shown to you under “Announcements”.To respond, click on the “answer” button to the left of an event and choose between “attending”, “maybe”, or “not attending”. You will then appear on the event page under the corresponding header.

By clicking on the event description you can read what the event is about. On this page you can also choose one of the three answers. You can change your answer at a later stage using the link “change answer”.

Creating and editing events

To create an event, click on “create event” at the top in the calendar view.

You can now enter all the information about the event, upload a picture, and begin choosing friends who will be automatically invited once the event has been created. If you put a cross next to Guests can invite friends

You can change an event’s information at any time using the “edit event” link, and can invite more people using the “invite friends” button.

In the event description you can also see which friends have already confirmed (“Attending”), may attend (“maybe“), and which are not coming (“Not attending“). All those who have not yet responded to the invitation appear in a list under the heading “Awaiting answer”.

Commenting on events

To comment on an event, visit the event calendar and open the event description. Write a message in the box and then click on the button "Send".

You can delete a comment you have written by clicking on the bin symbol to the right of the comment. The creator of an event can delete all comments, not only their own.

Deleting events

If you would like to cancel an event you have created, or would like to remove from your calendar an event you have been invited to, click on “Delete event” underneath the picture in the event description.

Please note: Once you have deleted an event you cannot recover it. If you have removed an event from your calendar you cannot be re-invited to it.

To find out exactly how “Events” work, and what your calendar can do, visit our help section.

VZ-ID

VZ-ID contains information on all subjects related to the exchange of data between your VZ account and the internet outside of the VZ-Networks.

VZ-Login

VZ-Login is a like a master key that allows you to access all of the websites connected to your account. This means that you can login to other websites using your VZ login details, and therefore saves you having to remember many different usernames and passwords. You will login to the VZ-Networks using your login details – and VZ will then tell the other website that you are registered.

To do this, the security mechanism OAuth is used in combination with VZCards. This means the access of the other sites to your VZ account is limited and the external provider will only receive the information that was requested for the connection, and which you yourself provided through the VZCard.

Please note: Once you transferred data to an external provider you are not able to reverse this process. You can contact the external provider at any time, however, and ask for your data to be deleted. Before assigning a VZCard, you should always read through the Terms & Conditions and the data protection information of the external provider carefully.
More information on this topic can be found in the section “Connections with external providers”.

VZ-Login works as follows:

  • Visit a website that you would like to connect to VZ and click on the “VZ-Login” button there.
  • Fill out the required fields on the VZCard to register for the website using your VZ details. This will establish the connection.
  • Once VZ-Login has been activated, it’s easy to login to connected websites once you are logged in to meinVZ: Simply go to the relevant site and click on the VZ Login button – you’re logged in, hassle free!
VZ Suggestions “VZ-Zeigen”

If you like something outside of VZ and want to show it to your friends, you can suggest it to them.

It’s simple: Select the “VZ-Zeigen” link on another website and you will automatically be directed to a VZ-Networks login page. There you can select your network, login, and decide who you would like to suggest the content to. Just like the internal suggest function, you can suggest it to:

  • all of your friends through the grapevine or
  • selected friends only, through the message service.

Your “suggestion” will then appear either in the grapevine or as a message in the “Suggestions” folder of the inboxes of the friends selected.

If you are already logged in to VZ, you will skip the VZ login and can select straight away whom you would like to suggest the content to.

Connections with external providers

Three different types of security mechanisms govern connections with external providers. They protect your data and ensure that you always have full control over it. The security mechanism used depends on the function and the provider to which you would like to be connected.

Connections through VZCards

Please note: The information in this section applies to all extra functions that make use of VZCards – not only Apps, but also the other functions of “VZ-ID”.

Neither Apps nor their external providers have access to the information you enter in meinVZ – whether you add them to your profile (as an App, for example) or view them on the profile of a friend (the Tube, for example). Your data is never made available to external providers for any reason without your consent.

Instead, you can create VZCards to provide extra functions with the information they need about you, if you want to use them. VZCards only request this information that the extra function needs. You can see the information that an extra function has about you at any time by clicking on the spanner icon above the App, and then on “What this App knows about you”. If you want to know which information an external provider knows about you through VZ-ID, click on “My Account”, then on “Connections”, and then go to the heading VZ-ID. You can view and edit each of your meinVZ cards through the menu.

You are free to decide whether you copy the required information from your profile or add new information. You should familiarise yourself with the Data Protection Declaration of the external providerwhich it is bound by. Read through this thoroughly and make sure that it meets your expectations. It can be found in the App preview or within the App itself.

You are responsible for creating your VZCards and for assigning them to the Apps and services that you choose. Once you have created a VZCard you can change or delete it at any time, or assign it to another App or service by going to Connections. Genauso kannst Du den Zusatzfunktionen auch jederzeit neue Visitenkarten zuweisen. Im Bereich „Mein Account“ kannst Du unter „Verbindungen“ immer den Überblick behalten, welcher Zusatzfunktion Du welche Visitenkarte zugewiesen hast und jederzeit abrufen, auf welche Infos über Dich Deine Zusatzfunktionen aktuell Zugriff haben.

Each VZCard has a unique VZCard ID which prevents external providers from being able to gather information about you, even when you have assigned multiple VZCards to their Apps. No external provider is therefore able to generate a comprehensive data image of you.

Please think carefully whether or not you want to give information out, because this will not only appear to the provider of the function, but may also be visible to the other people who use this extra function, depending on the function. Please note: Once you transferred data to an external provider, you are not able to reverse this process – in the case of Apps your data will be deleted within 24 hours of you deleting the corresponding VZCard.
In the case of connections through VZ-ID, however, the data transfer cannot be reversed. You can contact the provider at any time, however, and request that your information is deleted. If you suspect an App is using more of your data than it is allowed to, please report this to us.

The result: VZCards allow you to control exactly which information an external provider receives from you.

Here is an example of how you can use VZCards:

Example: An online game

You want to play and assign a VZCard. Since it’s just for fun you can enter “Rocky 51” as your name and say that you are 115 years old. The other players will never know who you are in real life.

Further information and pictures on this subject can be found in the Apps info page.

Connections through OAuth

OAuth is a security mechanism that can connect two password-protected portals to another to exchange information, without user details or passwords needing to be provided. OAuth makes it possible for content you have created to be exchanged between an external site and your VZ account.

Here’s an example:
You upload a photo on a website that you have authorised to access your VZ account through OAuth. This site will then transfer the picture to VZ – it will appear in your VZ account simultaneously. This lets you display the picture wherever you want with just one click. The photo is not saved on VZ, only displayed there. It will, for example, appear in your grapevine and will be visible there to anyone who is able to see your grapevine entries.

The external provider is able to access your VZ account without you having to give permission on each occasion, because you have established a connection through OAuth. You will keep full control of your VZ account and can break the connection to the external account at any time in “My Account” under Connections.
To find out how this works with external email providers, visit our help section.

It sounds complicated, and it is. To give you a more basic comparison:

Imagine that you pay in a restaurant using an EC card. The waiter gets your money without using your EC card himself, or finding out your pin code. This is exactly what happens with your login details through OAuth. To be more precise: The money that you give the waiter represents what you would like to transfer (a photo to your VZ account, for example) and the waiter represents the external site (in this example, a photo platform). To enable the waiter to get the money (to display the picture on VZ), he comes to you with the EC card reader (this represents the VZ login page). You insert your EC card and type in your pin (your VZ login details). Your money can now be transferred. In the same way, your photo can also be transferred, without the external provider having to know your login data.

Be careful: Only enter your login details on VZ websites, never do this on an external site. If you are not sure, have a look at the URL (the address in your browser) and make sure it begins with „http://www.meinvz.net“.

Once you have authorised the connection to an external site through your VZ login details a kind of “tunnel” will be created. This allows, for example, a photo service to display your photos on VZ simultaneously. This lets you display your photos in many locations at the same time. The connection will remain until it is broken in “My Account” under Connections, upon which it will disappear.

So: By using OAuth you are agreeing to certain content being sent from VZ to an external provider through a secure tunnel, or the other way round. The external provider will never have access to, or see, your VZ login details. You can revoke your consent at any time by breaking the connection to the provider. Since you did not have to provider your password to establish the connection, it can be broken easily without the need to change your password afterwards.

Connections using a combination of VZCards and OAuth

Both security mechanisms are, for example, used to login to VZ. This limits the other site’s access to your VZ account and ensures that the external provider can only access the information about you that it needs for the connection. This is only data that is needed for the connection – and is provided by you through VZCards.

Please note: Once you transferred data to an external provider you are not able to reverse this process. You can contact the external provider at any time, however, and ask for your data to be deleted. Before assigning a VZCard, you should always read through the Terms & Conditions and the data protection information of the external provider carefully.

More information on these individual subjects can be found in the sections “Connections through VZCards” and “Connections through OAuth”.

My Messages

All members of meinVZ and studiVZ can send each other messages. Communicating with studiVZ users in this way will not be possible, however, until they have connected their accounts to meinVZ.

When someone sends you a message you will be notified via an email that will be sent to the email address you used to register, unless you have deactivated this in “My Account”. You can manage your messages – read them, reply to them, and delete them – under “My Messages”. Your private messages, that is all messages in the folders “Messages”, “Suggestions”, and “Sent“, are at no time and under no circumstances visible to other members of the network.

The same applies to the "Spam" folder, which contains all messages automatically recognised as Spam. The messages in the Spam folder cannot be forwarded to others. This Spam folder is part of our security functions. More information on this can be found in our security pages.

Under “Privacy” you can select which studiVZ users are able to send you messages. You may wish to block all studiVZ users from contacting you in this way, or decide that only those studiVZ members who are your friends have this option. studiVZ users can do the same with regard to meinVZ users.

Please be aware, however, that you cannot block users within your own platorm (meinVZ) from sending you messages. Any member of meinVZ can send you a message at any time - even if you have restricted the visibility of your full profile.

If another user’s messages are annoying you, don’t worry, you can prevent him or her from sending you any more by using our “Ignore” function. Simply go to the user’s profile, click on “Report/Ignore” and select “Ignore”. Ignored users cannot contact you by any means, and will only ever be able to see your name, region and profile photo. More information can be found in the “Reporting and Ignoring” chapter.

Chat box

The chat box is our instant messenger. It lets you exchange instant messages with your friends and speak to them on the phone, with or without video.

If someone wants to chat with you, this will be shown through your chat status at the top right. You can then open the chat box window to read and answer the message, or accept the call.

Please note: As long as the chat box window remains open, the platform’s automatic logout function is deactivated. You should therefore always remember to close the chat box window when you have finished chatting – especially if you’re not using your own computer

Once you have logged out, all the content of your chat box will be automatically deleted. Old messages will not be saved. Users who are not friends with you are unable to chat with you – ensuring your privacy is protected.

Privacy and the chat box

If you do not want to use the chat box, you can deactivate it in Privacy under the heading “Who can see when I’m online?” by selection the option “No-one”.

If you would like to turn off the chat box temporarily, you can set your status as “away” inside the chat box - no-one will be able to chat with you until you select „on“ again.

If you would prefer to only use the chat function, and not the (video)phone functions, you can turn this off inside the open chat box window by clicking on the spanner icon which is on the left above your friend list. Simply de-select “Switch on audio calls” and “Switch on video calls” and then click on “Save”.

Making phone calls using the chat box

To make video or phone calls you need a microphone and speakers (or a headset), a webcam, and an updated Flash Player.

To make a call, simply open the chat box, choose a friend who is currently online, and click on either the “phone” symbol or the “video phone“ symbol. The phone will then ring on your friend’s computer and, once, he or she answers, you’re off.

If someone calls you, the two symbols “Answer” or “Reject” will appear in your chat window, together with information about whether it is an “Incoming video call“ or an “Incoming call” – that is, with or without picture.

To finish a conversation, click on the “hang-up” symbol.

Further information about making phone calls with the chat box, and answers to related technical questions, can be found in our Help section.

Making phone calls using the chat box and VZmobil

VZmobil customers who have connected their accounts to their VZ profiles are able to be called by their friends through the chat box – completely free of charge.

To be able to chat, first connect your VZmobil account to your VZ profile, then adjust your chat box settings accordingly: Click on the spanner icon within the open chat window and select the option “can be contacted through VZmobil”.

You can also be called if you are not currently logged in to VZ. Someone calling you through the chat box will appear on your phone as „Unbekannter Teilnehmer“.

All friends who are not logged in to VZ, but who can be called on their mobiles, will appear in your chat box friend list under “Only available on mobile”.

Further info on making phone calls to mobiles using the chat box, and answers to related technical questions, can be found in our Help section.

My Account

In “My Account” you can change the information you provided when you registered and make certain other changes to your account settings – for example, to the notifications that you receive from meinVZ or to the VZCards you have created for Apps, games, services, and VZ-ID.

General: Profile information, Twitter, account deletion & related

Login details: email und password

Your login details for meinVZ consist of your email address and your password – please keep your password to yourself and make sure no one discovers it! If you want to change your email address or password you can do so here. This information is not visible to others at any time, neither staff of the VZ-Networks nor anyone else.

VZ Netzwerke Ltd employees will only ever ask you for your email address or password in the following two instances, and not on any other occasions:

  • If you are unable or unwilling to delete your meinVZ account online (point 3.1 of the General Terms & Conditions)
  • If you are making a request regarding freedom of information (more information can be found in the “Freedom of Information” chapter below)

Your email address will under no circumstances be passed to third parties for commercial or business reasons.

Name, region, and platform

You can edit this information, but only once every three months. This helps to prevent a situation where users are constantly changing information about themselves. It’s more enjoyable for us all if people use their real names rather than pseudonyms – fake names are only half as much fun!

If you start studying you can move across to studiVZ. Further information about this can be found under the heading “Changing platform”.

Connection with Twitter

You are able to connect your Twitter account to your meinVZ account here. This opens up a channel between Twitter and meinVZ along which your Tweets and grapevine entries can be exchanged at any time. Tweets will be displayed in your grapevine and updates there will be transferred to Twitter.

Please note: Once your grapevine entries have been transferred to Twitter they will remain visible there until you delete them on Twitter itself – we can only delete them from our platform.

End membership

Further information on how you can delete your account can be found in the section “Ending your membership”.

Notifications

Notifications

If something happens in your network, such as you receive a friendship invitation, someone gruschels you, or someone comments on one of your photos, meinVZ sends a notification to your email address. You can turn these notifications off under “My Account”. The same applies to the notifications you receive about new photo links that concern you. This issue is particularly important so your settings for this can be adjusted independently of your other notification settings.

SMS Notifications for VZmobile customers

Free SMS notifications are available exclusively for VZmobile customers. Simply login to www.vzmobil.net and connect your VZmobile number to your VZ profile.

Connections

The Connections area lets you see which information you have provided to which Apps or VZ-ID partners through VZCards. You can edit or delete this information here – or invite friends to use the different functions too.

There is also the Services area, where you can see which services you have connected to your VZ account.

Under Blocked connections you can find an overview of all of the Apps and services that you have blocked and, if you choose to do so, “pardon” them.

Services

Services and their use

Services, like Apps, are additional functions that give you a wider range of things to do on meinVZ. Whilst Apps are located inside meinVZ, a service is a gateway to a function that is located outside the network. This might be on your mobile, for example, or another website on which you or a friends is registered as a user. The option of linking your grapevine to your Twitter account, for example.

Services operate through the security mechanism OAuth. Read exactly how this works in the section “Connections with external providers“, under “Connections through OAuth”.

Finding and recommending services

You will find out about new services that are offered in connection with the VZ-Networks either from us or from one of our partners. Friends may also invite you to use a service – you will then receive an invitation on your homepage.

You can recommend a service by using the “suggest” function to make your friends aware of it or by sending them an invitation within the network. In both cases the recipient will automatically be informed that you sent the recommendation. An invitation also ensures that you are automatically connected to your friends within a Service, if they agree to this.

Installing and removing services

Installing a service can be done either on the website of the service or on meinVZ, depending on where you find the corresponding information.

If you begin the installation outside of meinVZ, our Oauth security mechanism will be started to ensure a secure connection between your meinVZ account and the service (which is also password protected).

More information about creating these connections between your account and a service can be found in the section “Connections with external providers“ under “Connections through OAuth”.

If you want to delete a service, you can do so in “My Account” by clicking on Connections and then “Services”. Simply select the service and then click on the “delete” link.

Some services operate using VZCards. If a friend has asked for your VZCard, because he is using an external service such as a mobile phone book (Social phone book), you can delete the connection at any time. Please remember that you cannot “take back” information that has already been given out using your VZCards. To delete this data you must contact the external provider directly.

Further information on VZCards can be found in the section “Connections with external providers” under “Connections through VZCards”.

Changing Platform

You have the option of changing from meinVZ to studiVZ. Our “Change platform” function lets you transfer your profile over with a minimum of fuss. Please be aware, however, that studiVZ is currently only available in German. You should only move across if you feel your German is good enough.

If you’re a meinVZ member who will soon be studying, it’s easy for you to change platform and move your profile across to studiVZ. First you need to replace your region with your university - so we know where your profile should appear. You then need to make sure that the legal side of things is in order by agreeing to the General Terms & Conditions, Consent to the Use of Personal Data, and Code of Conduct for studiVZ.

The rest of your information will be automatically transferred to the corresponding fields in studiVZ. In those instances where the corresponding field in studiVZ is different (such as Employment), your information will be displayed in an adapted form. In the few cases where there is no corresponding field, the information will be lost. All of your friends, messages, photos, apps and group memberships will move across with you.

The change platform function will also reveal whether you are linked to any photos that are not visible in studiVZ. Links to these photos will not automatically be deleted, but will be shown to you before you confirm to move across. You can then decide whether or not you are happy for these links to be deleted, or whether you first want the opportunity to contact the album owner and ask him or her to make the album visible in studiVZ. If you do want the chance to contact the album owners, you can simply delay changing platform to a later stage.

Once you have changed platform you are a studiVZ member, and as such the studiVZ settings will be applicable to you. This may mean that certain content is no longer visible to you, or only partially visible: the profile pages of some meinVZ users, for example.

After moving across to studiVZ you will then be able to differentiate between studiVZ and meinVZ users in your privacy settings, in order to hide certain content from meinVZ users. Your basic information (name, university and profile photo) will remain visible to all users of the network (in studiVZ and meinVZ). We strongly recommend that you go through and check your privacy settings once you have changed platform.

The move (back) across from studiVZ to meinVZ is also possible. This allows studiVZ users who have finished studying to change to meinVZ and enter their workplaces rather than their courses. You can change platform for the first time whenever you want, but will have to wait at least six weeks to change again. This is to avoid a situation where users are continually switching between the two platforms.

Ending Your Membership

You can end your membership at any time and with immediate effect by going to “My Account” and clicking on “Delete my account”. When you end your membership all of your information will be deleted from the meinVZ database and cannot be recovered.

Privacy

When you open an account with meinVZ, all of the information in your profile will be visible to everyone in meinVZ and studiVZ. The only exception to this is your contact details. When you have registered you can specify exactly who is able to see your personal information, independently for each platform, by going to “Privacy”. The settings here can be readjusted at any point in the future.

Please be aware that your limited profile, including your name, region, and profile photo, cannot be hiddenAccordion and is visible to every member of the network except ignored users. More details on this can be found in the “Reporting and Ignoring” chapter.

Who can see my full profile?

Here you can select who is able to see your full profile. You can decide, for meinVZ and studiVZ independently, if your full profile is visible to everyone or only to certain groups of users.

Which information is displayed in my limited profile?

Here you can select which bits of your information are visible in your limited profile. Your name, region, and profile photo will always be visible to every member of the network; everything else is optional. If you want to display your “Employment” section in your limited profile, for example, simply select it from the list.

Contact Details

Your contact details (e.g. ICQ number, mobile, address) are only ever visible to your friends.

Who can link me to photos?

Here you can select whether or not your friends are able to link you to photos. If you allow them to link you, you can ensure that these links only appear once they have been approved by you. If you have links to approve a note will appear on your homepage. You can only be linked by users who are on your friend list.

Recent update

Under “Recent update” you can tell other members of the network what you’re up to. You can select, independently for each platform, who is able to see this information: “All friends”, “Selected friends”, or “No-one”.

Birthday Display

You are required to enter your date of birth when you register. This will then be visible on your profile to all members of the network. If you don’t want people to see your date of birth you can chose to remove it from your profile, or display it without the year.

Activities in the grapevine

Here you can select which of your activities your friends will be informed of through the grapevine – e.g. “New App added”, “New friendship”, or “New photos uploaded”. If you prefer, you are able to select who should be informed for each individual activity independently: No-one, selected friends only, or all your friends.

More information on this topic can be found above in “My homepage” under “Grapevine”.

Messages and Gruschels

Any member of the network can send messages to or gruschel any other member of the network. You can only do this to studiVZ users, however, when they have connected their account to meinVZ.

As a meinVZ member you can change your privacy settings so that studiVZ users are unable to message or gruschel you, or so that only your friends in studiVZ can do this. studiVZ users have the equivalent options regarding meinVZ users.

If another user is annoying you, you can simply choose to ignore this person: Go to the profile concerned, click on “Report/Ignore”, and select “Ignore”. An ignored user cannot contact you in any way, through either gruschels or messages, and cannot write on your notice board. Access to your profile is also blocked. Regardless of your privacy settings, an ignored user will only be able to see your profile photo, your name, and your region. More details can be found in the “Reporting and Ignore” chapter.

If you receive messages that breach the meinVZ Code of Conduct, whether junk mail, advertising, or a message that is in any way offensive, you can report the sender to the support team by clicking on “Report/Ignore” on his or her profile. The support team will then take the necessary steps to address the breach.

Search

Your settings in this area allow you to select how you can be found on the network.

Under “Super-search” you can select if you can be found through search criteria such as “home country” or “birthday”, or if you only want to be found through searches for your name.

Under “Who can find me?” you can select whether you can only be found by meinVZ users, or whether all users of the network can find you.

Visiting other profiles

When you visit a profile your name and profile picture will appear on that user’s homepage beneath “Recent visitors to my profile”. You can change your settings under “Privacy” so that you will be invisible and never appear in this section to other members.

Do you know…?

The “Do you know…?” section displays other meinVZ users to you on your homepage. The “Region” tab randomly selects and displays people who live in the same region as you. Under “Friends’ friends” you can see people you’re more likely to know, because they’re friends with your friends. In each case you will see the user’s profile picture and name. You are also visible to other users in the section, unless you change your settings under “Privacy”. Here you can choose between three options:

  1. You are visible to other users under both “Region” and “Friends’ friends”, in which case both tabs are visible to you.
  2. You only want to be visible to your friends’ friends. In this instance you will only appear under the category “Friends’ friends” to other users, but will be able to see both “Region” and “Friends’ friends”, on your homepage.
  3. You do not want to appear in “Do you know…?” at all. In this case you will only be able to see the option “Region” on your home page, because the option “Friends’ friends” is only available to users who are happy to appear there themselves.

Who can see that I’m online?

When other users look at your profile they will be able to see if you’re online or not. If you don’t want others to be able to see this you can change your settings under “Privacy” to allow “Only friends” or “No-one” to see your online status. Please note that if you select “No-one” your chat box will be automatically deactivated – you must allow at least your friends to see your online status to be able to chat.

Settings for the use of my data

Reporting and Ignoring

If you want to prevent other users of the network from being able to contact you in any way, you can choose to ignore them. Simply go to the relevant profile, click on “Report/Ignore”, and select “Ignore”.

An ignored user cannot contact you in any way, not through messages, gruschels, or your notice board. An ignored user is also unable to access your profile and, regardless of what you have made visible on your limited profile, can only ever see your name, region, and profile photo.

If you feel a member is misusing the network or breaching the Code of Conduct in any way (sending advertising, junk mail, or annoying people, for example) you should report this to us immediately. Our support team will then investigate the issue and take the necessary action. To report someone, go to his or her profile, click on “Report/Ignore” and select “Report”. Please then explain the reason for the accusation in the corresponding fields.

The report function also allows you to bring to our attention any photos or groups you find offensive or believe may be breaking our Code of Conduct. To do so, simply click on “Report group” in the group menu, or on “Report photo” above the photo on the right hand side.

More information about this function can be found on our info page “How to Report and Ignore”.

Search function

Some of the information in your profile will be automatically linked. This information will be shown in colour. By clicking on the information you can see other members of the network with the same information displayed in the same field. This means you can expand your personal network by finding people with the same interests as you.

When you have clicked on a linked profile entry you will first be shown all the people who have the same entry – up to 300 people.

To narrow your search further you can use the “Super-search filter” that appears above the list of matches. This lets you filter your results according to “region”, “university attended”, “age” or other criteria. The following search options are also available:

Search in your own region: Look for people in the same region as you.

Search Everywhere: Don’t limit yourself to a region; search the entire network for a particular name.

Super-search: Find people according to a range of different criteria – “first name”, “home country”, “birthday” or “relationship status”. Only profile information that is linked can be found.

The School search allows you to find people who attended the same school as you. Finding old school friends has never been easier!

You can find groups by typing keywords into the group search function. Please bear in mind that some groups can only be seen by users in a particular platform (studiVZ or meinVZ), or from a particular region.

Our search within a group function allows you to look for specific content inside a particular group – in the thread titles or in the entries themselves. The “expanded search” lets you decide if you want to look for corresponding entries of your friends or of any group members. The results can be sorted according to relevance or date.

It is important to note that the different search options are available to all users of the network. Under “Privacy” you can decide how, and by whom, you can be found.

Inviting people to join

Every meinVZ member can invite people to become part of his or her personal network and register on one of the VZ networks. The “invite“ link can be found on every VZ page in the menu at the top, or in the search function if your search for a person does not produce any results.

When using the invite function, you can decide whether you

  1. would like to invite individuals by personally entering their email addresses, or
  2. would like to check your email address book, so that you can select who to invite from your list of email contacts.

We guarantee:

  • Information used for invitations is for this purpose only: VZ Netzwerke Ltd processes the information entered – the email addresses and names of those invited – exclusively for these invitations and then deletes this information immediately.
  • The login details and the information transferred during the address book check are secured through the standard internet encryption protocol SSL.
  • Privacy first: If you send an invitation to someone via email, you will not be informed if this individual is already registered in a VZ network. This prevents people from finding out if you are registered here simply by having your email address.

If you have sent an invitation, the recipient will receive this in your name: either by email or – if the users is already registered – as a VZ friendship invitation.

Logout

You can logout of meinVZ by clicking once on “logout”. To login again later you must re-enter your password and email address. If your account is inactive for more than 30 minutes you will automatically be logged out. There is just one exception to this rule: automatic logout is deactivated as long as the chat box window remains open.

You should therefore always close the chat box window once you have finished chatting, and on leaving the website you should click on “Logout” – especially if you are not using your own computer. This prevents a stranger from sitting at a computer with your meinVZ account still open and making mischief.

To ensure this never happens, make sure you always logout properly by clicking on “Logout” when you leave the site.

meinVZ on your mobile

Thanks to our mobile applications you can use the most important meinVZ functions on the move – through your mobile.

Whichever mobile applications you use, please note the following:

  1. Cost: Check the cost in advance with your mobile phone provider. While meinVZ offers its mobile applications for use free of charge, you should check which costs your service provider will charge you for the use of mobile internet services, or for SMS message to the grapevine, by asking them directly.
  2. Our General Terms & Conditions, our Consent to the Use of Personal Data, and our Code of Conduct all apply to the use of mobile applications.

Detailed information about how to get and use our different mobile offers can be found on our info page “meinVZ mobile”.

VZmobil
VZmobil is a mobile tariff offered by VZmobil GmbH that allows you to use all of the important VZ functions on your mobile without incurring extra data transfer costs. This includes unlimited chatting with our “Plauderkasten App” and surfing on the VZ mobile portal or the VZ Apps for iPhone, Android or Symbian. You just need an appropriate device, the right settings, and a VZmobil SIM card.

If you connect your VZmobil account to your VZ profile, it is possible for your friends to call you from their chat box to your mobile – completely free of charge. More information can be found above under „Chat Box“.

The company VZmobil GmbH is 100% owned by VZ Netzwerke Ltd, which you can access at www.vzmobil.net. For information about data protection please have a look at the data protection information for VZmobil. If you have questions about your customer details, your credit, or technical issues please have a look at the VZmobil FAQ or contact the VZmobil customer service:
  • by post to: Postfach 4520, 90024 Nürnberg
  • by email to: kundenbetreuung@vzmobil.net or
  • by phone (Mon-Sat, 08:00 – 20:00): 09001 533722 (49 Cent/Min from landlines, varying rates apply for mobiles).
Mobilportal & Apps

The meinVZ portal can be accessed by any internet-ready mobile under http://m.meinvz.net and is the version of meinVZ for your mobile browser.

Applications (widgets) are programmes especially designed for certain mobiles, which allow you to login to meinVZ using your mobile. These applications are either pre-installed on your mobile or can be downloaded directly over the internet from the provider concerned. Both the portal and the applications allow you to use the most important meinVZ functions on the move.

The “VZ Networks“ App voucher function

If you install the “VZ Networks” App from VZ Netzwerke Ltd you will be able to use the “voucher” function. This function is free of charge and non-binding, and is a service of VZ Netzwerke Ltd. offered to you in cooperation with COUPIES GmbH.

Here’s how it works:

  • Click on the menu item “Vouchers” and the “VZ Networks” App will ask you if we are able to use your personal details (age & gender). This data will not be passed on to third parties and you can revoke your consent at any time in the settings of your mobile.
  • Through our map or the different categories you will be shown which vouchers are currently active in your surrounding area. We are able to do this by using your mobile to determine your current location. For the local map we will always use the map that you have already saved in the standard settings of your mobile. The individual vouchers will be offered by advertising partners and then shown to you by COUPIES.
  • The detailed view of a voucher shows you how to reach the location where the voucher can be used. When you arrive, you should explain you would like to use a voucher straight away.
  • When you are at the checkout, “tear” off the voucher cover from right to right and show the picture on your mobile to the cashier. That’s it – you’ve used the voucher.

To enable us to show you vouchers, you must give your consent to the App using your current location – otherwise it can’t work. You can change these settings at any time in the settings of your mobile.

The "VZ Networks" App "Places" function

Together with VZ, servtag GmbH (“friendticker”) is now offering the “Places” function in the VZ Networks App. You can use it to check-in wherever you are and see what your friends are up to.

Here’s how it works:

  • Start the VZ Networks App and press on the “Places” menu item. Alternatively, you can also press the arrow symbol at the top right of the grapevine and then select “Places”.
  • Under “Places nearby” you can see the different places near to you.
  • Select your current place and then press on “Check-in”.

You can select if you would like to send a short message and whether you want to show your check-in on Twitter and/or in the grapevine. Please consider that this will enable all of your friends in VZ and your followers on Twitter to see where you have checked-in. If you don’t want your VZ friends to be able to see where you have checked-in through the grapevine, deactivate the VZ button before you check-in (for Twitter: deactivate the Twitter button).

To enable places to be shown to you, it is necessary for the App to process your current location – otherwise the whole thing won’t work. If you don’t want this, you can change this setting at any time thereafter in the settings of your mobile.

To show you places nearby, “friendticker” uses GPS data from your handy. You can read exactly what “friendticker” does with your data in the “friendticker” Privacy Policy.

In addition, VZ offers you the following service: To help you orientate yourself better, VZ also informs you of the address of your current location. To do this, VZ uses technology from Microsoft, and therefore transmits the location of your mobile to our partners Microsoft.

External websites

We would like to stress the fact that our Consent to the Use of Personal Data only applies to our network – consisting of meinVZ and studiVZ.

External websites, even if they can be accessed from links on our website, are not covered by our Consent to the Use of Personal Data. VZ Netzwerke Ltd assumes no responsibility for the conduct of external websites with regards to data protection.

To ensure that any external sites meet with your expectations concerning data protection guidelines, we advise you to read all the information provided by these websites on this topic.

Advertising

Our network is free to use for all members. The means for VZ Netzwerke Ltd to support and further develop this service are in part provided by advertising.

You have the option to select whether or not you receive target-group specific advertising. This involves using parts of your information to determine whether or not a particular advertisement is shown to you. The advertising clients on behalf of whom we show the adverts do not have access to your information. They simply indicate the criteria we should use to decide who the advert is shown to.

To do this we work together with nugg.ad AG places a cookie in your browser, and in this cookie they save anonymous data about your activity. This data is collected by nugg.ad every time someone visits one of their customer’s websites. This enables nugg.ag to draw conclusions such as “You, i.e. a user with an anonymous identification number, have visited websites with themes X and Y, another user has visited websites with themes X, Y and Z, so the theme Z might also interest you.“ (Additional information about the functions of nugg.ad can be found under http://www.nugg.ad/de/consumer-informationen). These suggestions about your possible interests are provided to us by nugg.ad, and help us to improve the selection of adverts we show you.

If you do not want nugg.ad to collect information about you that helps us show you more relevant advertising, you can withhold your consent through an opt-out cookie.

Please note! The opt-out-cookie must not be deleted if you want to withhold your consent from the collection of data by nugg.ad. If you delete all of the cookies in your browser you will have to repeat this process.

If you want to allow the transmission of information to nugg.ad again, please click here.

We will only show you target-group specific advertising if you have not de-selected it under Settings for the use of my data in “Privacy”. Target-group specific advertising can be based on evaluations of the following information:

  • Entries that you have added under “Edit profile”.
  • The themes of groups that you are a member of
  • Content of the so-called protocol files.

Your name, your photos, your political orientation and your religious denomination will never be used for target-group specific advertising. They do not contain any relevant information anyway.

Your settings concerning target-group specific advertising can be changed at any time under Settings for the use of my data in “Privacy”.

There are also advertising formats, such as themed adverts in “Search”, that do not involve the evaluation of any personal information.

Advertising shown within the network is typically not supplied by VZ Netzwerke Ltd but by a so-called adserver (e.g. our adserver Adition). Your browser loads these adverts onto your computer and displays them to you. To do this – as when accessing any other site on the internet – your browser sends the IP address of your computer to the adserver, which then sends the adverts back to this address. This is also what happens when you click on online advertising (such as a banner). Cookies and/or other technical devices may also be used by the adservers to measure the effectiveness of the adverts. If you would like to withdraw your consent for our adserver provider Adition using cookies, you can do this under http://de.adition.com/privacy/.

The cookies of other advertising companies can be either deleted or blocked from the very beginning through the settings in your browser or using other appropriate programs.

More information about advertising on meinVZ can be found under “Data Protection” by going to How does the advertising on meinVZ work?.

Electronic messages

By agreeing to the “Consent to the Use of my Personal Data” you are allowing the operator of meinVZ, VZ Netzwerke Ltd, to use the information you have provided, in accordance with your settings, for the purpose of advertising.

With your consent, VZ Netzwerke Ltd can send you advertisements, either to your email address or through the platform’s message service. The maximum number of advertisements you will be sent is limited to five a month.

You have the option to select whether or not you would like to be sent advertising and/or information about, for example, new and improved functions on the network. The settings for this can be changed at any time under Settings for the use of my data in “Privacy”.

Audience measurement

We measure the use of our social networks. To do this, we use a service provider.

If you do not want your use of VZ pages to be measured, you can opt-out of this under the following link: http://optout.ivwbox.de

Simply click on “opt-out cookie” and your visits will no longer be measured.

Please note: If you delete your cookies – and therefore this opt-out cookie, you will need to visit the link again and re-activate the opt-out function. Otherwise, your page requests will be measured.

http://optout.ivwbox.de

You can find more information in the attached PDF.

Freedom of information

You are entitled, at any time and at no cost, to see the personal information that the operator of the meinVZ platform, VZ Netzwerke Ltd, has saved about you. When making such a request, please provide us with the email address that you last used to access the network.

This information will then be sent to you by email or, if this is not possible, by post.

Revocation of Consent

At any time you can specify whether or not we analyse the personal information provided by you for advertising purposes. You can adjust these settings at any time by going to “Privacy” and then to “Advertising settings”. If you indicate, for example, that you do not wish to be sent advertising and that you do not want to be shown target-group specific advertising this will have no effect on your membership of the network.

Nevertheless, please understand that it is necessary for us to record information about every members’ use of the site – this is obligatory. We store the activity of members for up to six months to both prevent and investigate network misuse and violations. This information is saved to ensure the security of our users and the network. We would like to emphasise that this information is not saved for business purposes (you are in any case able to prevent this through your privacy settings – see above), but because we want to provide a safe and attractive platform to our users. We want to ensure that users have the best possible security and protections.

If you do not want us to save any more of your information you can revoke the consent you gave during registration at any time. To do this, either write an email to revoke@meinVZ.net or send a letter to studiVZ Limited, Saarbrücker Strasse 38, 10405 Berlin. Due to the reasons explained above, however, this will result in your account being deleted. If, on the other hand, you simply wish that we do not send you adverts or analyse your data for advertising purposes, you can adjust your settings accordingly under “Privacy” by going to “Advertising settings”.

Data Protection Officer

If you have any further questions, or would like to know more about our rules concerning user information, please contact our Data Protection Officer at the following address:

VZ Netzwerke Ltd
– Data Protection Officer –
Saarbrücker Straße 38
10405 Berlin / Deutschland

E-Mail: dataprotection@meinVZ.net