Don't Waste Your Money: Some say Facebook's new privacy controls are not enough

(WTOL) - It seems everyone is on Facebook these days, the social networking site that just registered more than 350 million members.

But with so many people now using Facebook, that means more people can find your personal information. So Facebook plans some changes to help protect folks, but some say it isn't enough.

Exposed to the World

The biggest complaint about Facebook is that your personal life can be exposed to the world if youre not careful. Earlier this year, Leanne Saylor told me she fell victim to an online "IQ Test" scam, because it used her real Facebook friends' names to get to her.

She received a message saying "your friend Ray took a test and got a 121, and your friend Karen it and and was 119, and can you beat them?"  She fell for the ruse, hook, line, and sinker, because she tells me Ray and Karen are her real friends. But it turns out they knew nothing about it.

Your "Network" Makes you Vulnerable

With much of your profile available to anyone in your "network" --which can be a whole city -- it's easy to be targeted by people you dont want.

Kelly Chalfant is a college student and daily Facebook user who should be thrilled by some upcoming changes...just laid out in an open letter from Facebook's founder.  She tells me "a lot of people are being hacked through pages on their facebook accounts."

Changes that May Help

Facebook will simplify its complicated privacy settings, so you can limit your online information to:

  • Friends only
  • Friends of friends, or
  • Anyone

It's one simple choice.

And it will eliminate regional "networks" --like cities or schools -- that allowed too many strangers to see your profile.

Why Critics Say it's Still Not Enough:
 
However, critics already say it doesn't go far enough: It still allows people to "tag" your name in photos. This can allow the world to see you in embarrassing situations, often involving alcohol.

Many critics want facebook to require the person being "tagged" to approve a photo before it appears.  That way a prospective employer won't see a picture of you drunk, dancing on a table,  at a bachelor party five years ago.

Did You Even Set Up Privacy?

Amazingly, many Facebook users never even visit the privacy setting page...leaving their information open to the world.

So next time you log on, take a look at the privacy settings and set some limits, so you stay safe.

Copyright 2009 WTOL. All rights reserved.