by Elizabeth Kricfalusi, Tech for Luddites
Reader Lorna recently sent me this question:
Do you know if there is a way to direct your news/status updates to only a select group of Facebook friends, as you can with other Facebook apps? My daughter has lots of very casual Facebook friends but a core of "real" friends. She would prefer that the things she writes on her wall go only to the "real" friends. Any way to do this?
I love this question because it lets me bring together some elements of various earlier posts into a single scenario that I'm sure many other people are wondering about.
The answer to the question is, yes, you can restrict access to your FB Wall Posts to specific friends. Here's how:
Create a Friend List for your "real" friends.
I know exactly what Lorna means. When I first joined Facebook, I had every intention of limiting my connections to those people I'm actually good friends with, whether they're from high school, previous jobs, or even online communities where I've built a stronger relationship with some people than others. Of course, I've since added many more friends to my network—all people I like and have something in common with, but not necessarily people I would feel comfortable sharing certain information with.
So the first thing to do is create a Friend List, where you can include the friends you're closest to.
- Click Friends in the top nav bar.
- Click the Make a New List button in the left panel.
- Type in a name for your list.
- Hit Enter.
You can either type in the names of your friends individually or click the Select Multiple Friends link to select several at once.
- If you typed the names in individually, you're done creating your list. If you used the multiple select option, click the Save List button at the bottom.
For more information about Friend Lists, including other ways to use them, see my earlier post, Create Friend Lists on Facebook.
Adjust your Privacy Settings.
You've now created a list of your "real" friends, so the next step is to set it up so that only those friends can see what's written on your Wall.
- Click Settings > Privacy Settings in the top nav bar.
- Click Profile.
Note: The Profile page is where you set who can view your Wall Posts. The News Feed and Wall Posts page is where you choose what kind of information appears on your Wall.
I've just discovered that the instructions below will not prevent people from seeing the posts you make to your Wall—only those that your other friends make. To restrict people from seeing your status lines and links you post, use the Status and Links dropdown box on this same page. To restrict them from seeing other things, like your Photos or updates about games you play, etc., you'll have to change the settings for each individual application from the Application Settings page (get to it from the Settings dropdown menu at the top of the page. The following instructions will apply to those as well.
For more information, check my new post, Huge Correction re. Facebook Wall Privacy.
- In the Wall Posts dropdown, click Customize.
- In the window that appears, click the Some Friends button. A new section will open where you can type in the names of the friends you want to be able to see your Wall.
- Enter the name of the Friend List you just created, then hit Enter.
Note: You could enter each friend's name individually as well. The advantage of using a Friend List is that, if you add another person to that list later, s/he will automatically have the same access rights as everyone else on that list.
- Click Okay.
- Click Save Changes at the bottom of the Profile Privacy page.
You've now set up Facebook so that only those friends can see what appears on your Wall. However, I want to re-iterate the warning from my earlier post, Privacy Controls in Facebook Pt. 1, that NO privacy setting is foolproof. So always keep this advice in mind:
If you don't want someone to know something about you, don't put it on the Internet!
Thanks for submitting the question, Lorna. I'm sure many other people will benefit from this example as well.
Last Updated: March 23, 2009