Readers of this blog are already aware that the privacy settings in Facebook (“FB”) is a topic that I write about frequently. In fact, the subject matter is addressed almost as often as FB screws with the settings, which, averages out to be every 2-3 months. But this particular entry is not about privacy settings per se, but rather, the creation and use of Friend Lists on FB.
Friend Lists (“FL”) are perfect for the person who wants to share information with some, while restricting it from others. Data such as personal & contact information, or even the contents of your Wall can be restricted to whichever Friend Lists you specify. Also, the FL comes in handy when you just want to work on your farm and not be interrupted by intermittent requests for help via instant chat from your Farmville neighbors. But more on that in a bit.
Create A List
Let’s start by logging into your FB account, then clicking Account>Edit Friends. On the far left side of the page you will find your connections. I’m going to assume that you do not yet have any FLs set up as of yet so start by clicking on All Connections. When you do that, you will see every person, product, website, etc. that you have allowed to connect to your profile displayed in the center of the page.
Click Create New List and enter a name for it. Let’s start with something simple that will include gamer neighbors. I play Farmville, so I have a list called “FV.” After you do that, start selecting all the friends who will be in your gamer neighbor Friend List. Be sure to click on the Create List button at the bottom of that window to save it.
Now let’s create another list. On the same page, click on All Connections again, then click Create New List. Let’s call this list “Limited Friends.” My Limited Friends group does not have access to those parts of my profile that I have specified under privacy settings. But for right now, all we are concerned with is creating the group and selecting the members for the list.
Select all those friends that you don’t want to be able to see your Wall, for example, then click on Create List at the bottom of that window to save just as you did for the FV list.
Specify Who Sees What
Once you have created your lists and selected the members, you will need to go into privacy settings to restrict access accordingly. On the upper right hand side click on Account>Privacy Settings. Once you do that, it takes you out to the following page.
Note here that my settings are customized and that is reflected accordingly both in the left hand pane as well as the table above. We want to set up who can see & comment on your shared info so click Customize Settings.
Once you do that, you will be taken out to a page with three different sections entitled, Things I Share, Things Others Share & Contact Information. This is fairly self-explanatory, but was implemented by FB only after the latest round of outcries from privacy advocates asking for a simpler interface.
Direct your attention to the image referenced directly above that is highlighted in yellow. Visibility in this column is set to Everyone by default. This means that everyone, not just your connections, can see everything in your profile unless you lock it down. If you don’t care that any ID thief casual onlooker with an Internet connection can access your profile and harvest information (such as your birthday & contact info) then stop reading here. But if you do care who can see your data, then continue.
Since we already have Friend Lists set up, let’s start with Posts by me. Click on the down arrow and specify who you want to see your info. We want people on our FV list to see our posts so click Custom>Edit, then under These People, click Specific People, then type in the name of your Friend List which is FV.
While we’re here, let’s also restrict our posts from the Limited Friends list so under Hide this from type Limited Friends in the field. Click Save setting. We just enabled all of our connections in the FV Friend List to see our wall, while restricting it from our connections in the Limited Friends list.
Do this for every item in the three sections of this page as appropriate. Create other Friend Lists as needed and you are well on your way to using Facebook like a pro!
Go Offline In Chat
Since we already have our Friend Lists set up, going offline in chat is easy. Sometimes, I just want to zone out while I’m on my farm and I don’t want to be interrupted by requests for help. When that happens, I click on chat, find the FV list, then click the green/white capsule shaped button to the right and go offline. Note that the capsule has now turned to grey. When you want to become visible to your connections, simply click the capsule shaped button again.
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