Controlling Access to Facebook

The exploding popularity of Facebook is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s cool that more and more of your old friends and classmates are joining up; on the other hand it’s a bit of a drag that people like your mother and boss are signing up… because this presents a problem. You can’t very well deny a friend request from good ol’ Mom or your boss… but you really don’t want them to see those pictures of you doing Jager shots off a stripper’s belly, either. What can you do?

Thankfully, Facebook has a nifty, built-in way to avoid this whole mess. It might seem lengthy at first, but it’s actually pretty easy:

1) Log in to Facebook.

2) Click the “Friends” link at the top of the page.

3) Look for the “Friends List” in the left hand sidebar. You might see a list called “Limited Profile”. If you do, click on it and add the friends you want to restrict to the list. If you don’t see a “Limited Profile” list, click “Make New List” and give it a name like “Limited Profile” or “Safe Profile” or what have you. You may add friends to the list at this time or do it later – it’s up to you.

4) Click the “Settings” button at the top right of the page. Click “Privacy Options” from the drop-down menu.

5) Click “Profile”.

6) You will now see a list of all the aspects of your Facebook profile, such as “Basic Info”, “Personal Info”, etc. Choose each part you’d like to block by clicking the drop-down box for that particular entry and selecting “Customize”. At the bottom of the pop-up window, click the box in the “Except these people” option and start typing “Limited Profile” (or the name of the list you created in step 3).

7) Repeat step 6 for every section you’d like to block your friends from seeing.

8) Click the “Save Changes” button when done.

To verify these settings, type the name of a friend from the Limited Profile list into the “See how a friend sees your profile:” box.

Note that you can have multiple lists and multiple privacy rules. So you could have a very restrictive profile for family, a “looser” profile for coworkers, and a “standard” profile for your friends.

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