Facebook is public. Too public. You want to have an account, you want to keep in touch with our friends, but sometimes it goes too far. Do all your friends really have to know about all your other friends? How about some privacy?
Well, true to form, Facebook doesn’t provide too much of it. When it comes to friends, many people wish they could hide certain friends from certain other friends, or hide the fact that they have a mutual friend with someone. This can’t be done.
What can be done, is hiding all your friends from all your friends, or hiding all your friends from some of your friends. One of our readers asked us to show you exactly how this is done. Follow the steps below, and you too will be able to gain just a little more of that precious privacy.
Who Can See What?
At the moment, there are two likely scenarios: either everyone can see your friends list, or only your friends can see your friends list. No matter who can or can’t see your full friends list, though, anyone can see if they have mutual friends with you and also see who they are. This is possible even if they’re not your friends.
Another possible scenario is that no one can see your friends list, and if that’s the case, you don’t need this tutorial. If you’d like that to be the case but not sure how to do it, keep reading. It’s easy.
Hiding Your Friends List
If you used to know how to do this, and suddenly can’t find it, it’s not your fault. Facebook keeps changing the way its privacy settings look, and while the most recent change is definitely for the best, it can still get confusing.
To start, you should know that aside from friends, you also have Facebook followers. We’ve told you everything there is to know about Facebook followers, so if you’re not sure what they are, read all about it. To sum it up, followers are people who can see only your public posts, if you have any. People can choose to follow without you having to authorize it, and they also become your followers when they ask to be your friends and you ignore them. Friends and followers privacy is controlled from the same spot.
In your profile, click the Friends tab. Once in, click the pen icon on the right, and choose Edit Privacy.
You’ll now be able to control privacy for both your friends list and followers list. Each one of these can be set to Public, Friends, Only Me, and Custom. It can also be set to a friends list, if you already have one.
To hide your friends (or followers) list from everyone, choose Only Me. If you choose that, no one will be able to see your full friends list, but people who you have mutual friends with will still be able to see those, so it’s not complete privacy. It’s important to keep that in mind.
If there are only certain friends you want to hide the list from, or certain friends you want to still be able to see the list, that’s possible too. Choose Custom, and specify exactly who you want to be able to see or not see your friends list.
From here, you can also set the list to be visible to friends of friends, which is broader than just friends, but not quite so public as Public.
If you generally want to hide your friends list, but there’s a substantial group of friends you do want to be able to see it, you don’t have to type in their names one after the other. You can use a friends list. If you’re not sure what those are or how to create one, read all about using and creating Facebook friends lists. Once you have one set, you can choose to let just those people see your friends (or followers) list by choosing the list from the dropdown menu in the Edit Privacy window.
Checking The Activity Log
There’s one other place where you can control who sees your friends list, and while it should synchronize itself with the method above, it doesn’t hurt to check this one too, just in case. This setting resides in the Activity Log. Not sure what that is? That’s because it’s pretty well hidden.
To access your activity log, click the Privacy Menu button on the top menu bar (the lock icon), click on Who can see my stuff and then click the Use Activity Log link.
From here you can see all your recent activity on Facebook. Using the sidebar, you can narrow things down and look at specific things. Choose Friends from the sidebar (if you can’t see it, click the MORE link under Photos, Likes and Comments).
Now make sure that the privacy setting you want truly does appear next to Who can see your friends list? on the top of the page. You can also change it from here, if it’s easier for you.
If there are other things you’re not sure how to do with Facebook’s newest privacy settings, make sure to read our complete guide.
Are you going to hide your Facebook friends list now?
Image credit: Josh Hallett