Social media moves so fast, it's hard to keep up. Here are the week's top stories in scan-friendly format:

  • Facebook Reaches 350 Million Users, Makes Privacy Changes
  • Don't Fall For Phishing Scams on Social Networks
  • Google Wave's New Competition Coming From SAP
  • Twitter Teams Up To Launch SMS Advertising

Facebook Reaches 350 Million Users, Makes Privacy Changes

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, said in an open letter to Facebook users that new, improved privacy controls would soon be rolled out. Now users will be able to selectively chose who on their Friends list can see specific updates and other content to the site. In another portion of the letter, Zuckerberg notes some substantial news: the social networking service has expanded its reach to more than 350 million users, with 50 million being added just in the last 90 days.

To walk users through the new privacy options, you will be presented with a series of screens that will help you configure your privacy settings. The new privacy configuration will allow you to hide your racy party photos from co-workers who you may not want to see. This type of functionality has been promised for months and Facebook is finally rolling out the changes.

How do you utilize Facebook?  Do you hold back certain updates because of privacy concerns?  Perhaps Facebook users will be more likely to share different types of data if they can customize who sees these updates.

Don't Fall For Phishing Scams on Social Networks

The 140 character limit that Twitter imposes might cause you to be brief and send out short, to the point messages, but the limit is also causing havoc in the security arena. You see, to allow people to share URLs, URL shortening services such as Bit.ly and Cli.ps have popped up. However, malware and phishing scams are utilizing URL shorteners and users' blind faith in them to cause people to fall for these schemes. This is a huge problem that has been exacerbated by the rise in popularity of social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Marshall Kirkpatrick recently posted a list of folks who fell for such schemes.  The list includes the titles of such employees who shouldn't fall for such scams but fell victim nonetheless.

The overarching message here is to keep your guard up while online, even on social networks where you assume your friends are passing along quality links and URLs.

Google Wave's New Competition Coming From SAP

SAP, the enterprise software vendor, is launching a rival to Google Wave called Constellation. The web-based collaboration space from SAP will allow co-workers and project mates to collaborate on-the-fly utilizing information from a variety of different information sources.  According to ReadWriteWeb, Constellation works best with 5 to 30 unique users and contains the capability to publish information to wikis, SharePoint and other collaboration platforms.

SAP's entrance into this market brings some relevance to this collaborative type of service. Tools such as Microsoft SharePoint have been popular, but with the rise of the real-time web, there are few tools available to enterprise customers that allow multiple people to collaborate and interact with data being pulled from multiple data sources.

Google Wave has a few competitors in the real-time collaboration space. PBWorks, Zoho and this new offering from SAP will give the search giant competition in the enterprise real-time collaboration market. Users of Google Wave have been impressed with the service from an academic standpoint, but have yet to see any real world uses for Wave. Perhaps services such as Constellation will help drive use in businesses and professional organizations.

Twitter Teams Up To Launch SMS Advertising

Twitter, the popular micro-messaging service, is teaming up with a partner company to send advertising messages via SMS with prompts to follow up on Twitter. 4INFO is a successful mobile ad network and text alert service who recently completed a successful text-to-Twitter trial project earlier this year.

Upon hearing about the successful trial, Twitter teamed up with 4INFO to look into the text-to-Twitter service further. This is because brands are looking for new ways to hook and hold potential customer's attention. Teaming up with Twitter allows brand advertisers to send out short, cheap messages and follow up with potential clients/customers over time via Twitter.

The service has been productive. Amongst six brands who were involved in the 4INFO trial earlier this year, TurtleWax followers jumped by 3,033%, while UFC increased their Twitter follow-ship by a massive 2,001%. Apparently the individuals involved in the trial were receptive to hearing more messages from advertisers, which is music to these brands' ears.

Going forward, we are likely to see new usage of social networks and social media in advertising and brand outreach. As long as the messages are targeted and meaningful, it appears the public will give these innovative advertisers a warm reception.