(NBC) - Facebook is making security changes.
With nearly 500 million members, the website has made it easy for people to share information online with friends and family. But the company is pulling in the reins when it comes to sharing personal information with anyone else.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged Wednesday that his company had made the social website's privacy controls too complicated.
As a result, users discovered they were accidentally sharing personal information with third parties, including advertisers.
"It's like giving away your Social Security Number," Harvard Business School's Ben Edelman said. "Once someone has this code, they can look up everything else Facebook knows about you."
With privacy groups, regulators and some users voicing concerns, Zuckerberg says privacy controls will be simplified.
That includes opting out of a personalization feature that tailors other websites to a Facebook user's profile.
David Kirkpatrick, author of the book, "The Facebook Effect," says Zuckerberg had to make the move.
"I don't think the members have been that upset about it," Kirkpatrick said. "On the other hand, he's got to control the perception and the perception has been getting out of control."
Meanwhile Zuckerberg is confident the moves will bolster his website.
"Our focus is all on building a great product," Zuckerberg said as part of the announcement.
He added the changes Facebook is instituting will apply retroactively, as well as going forward with new services the website has yet to launch.