Facebook is making it difficult for teens to keep their personal information private online, said students participating Tuesday in the National Teen Summit on Internet Safety.
"No one really understands the privacy aspect of [Facebook]," said Myrrhanda Jones, 17.
Callie Perkins, 16, said she joined the social media network in August 2009 and only recently figured out how to hide her hometown from outsiders.
Facebook's privacy controls have changed four times in the last month, according to James Andrews, co-founder of the social media consulting firm Everywhere.
Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes told The Washington Examiner that the network recently simplified and improved its privacy controls based on advice from users and privacy experts.
The student panelists also said most teens ignore the severe consequences online posts could have on their reputations.
One in five teens make risky posts online although 87 percent of them are worried about the consequences of doing so, according to a Cox Communications survey on teen Internet safety released Tuesday.
Forty-two percent said they had posted curse words online and 13 percent said they had left sexual comments or posts.
"Employers are not only looking at your information, but your friends' information as well," said Christine Johnson, 20.
Corrinne Johnson, 17, said many of her friends altered their names on Facebook to make it more difficult for school officials and employers to view their profiles.
Teens risk not only employers and college admissions counselors viewing their online information -- but also sexual offenders.
John Walsh, America's Most Wanted host and moderator of the summit, criticized Facebook for not using database software that Myspace used to boot about 90,000 sexual offenders off the site in February 2009, and for not working with British law enforcement in the search for sexual offenders.
"Facebook is very uncooperative, hiding behind the First Amendment," Walsh said.
The social networking site defended itself to The Examiner.
"Protecting our users, especially the many children who use our site, has always been a top priority for Facebook," Noyes said. "We have been working proactively with states' attorneys general to run their lists of registered sex offenders against our user base."