Here’s a quick how-to on how to make sure that your Facebook friends list is set to private and why it’s so important.
On sites like Facebook you have your obvious must-do privacy configurations, like your post visibility settings, which of course should be set to friends only. Our full run-down on locking down that Facebook account can be read here.
And then there’s the not-so-obvious settings that may not strike you as something that really needs to be done, especially when the default setting imposed by Facebook is absolutely wrong. The privacy settings for your Facebook friends list is one of those settings.
Why do I need to make my Facebook friend list private?
It is important to limit the visibility of your friends on Facebook to protect them, since scammers can clone your account and use that account to trick your friends.
You see, if a scammer clones your account (by creating another account with your name and profile picture – two pieces of information you can’t hide from people) then they can start sending out friend requests to all of your friends in an attempt to trick them into accepting, thinking it’s you. However, if the scammer can’t see your friends list, the motivation to clone your account is gone.
If your friends list is public, and a scammer clones your account and sends out requests, and a friend request is accepted, the scammer can attempt to initialise any number of different scams on your friend, which could very well be successful. It’s called Facebook cloning and you can read more about it here.
How do I make my Facebook friends list private?
It’s pretty easy. You will need to log into your Facebook account on a PC or laptop since most mobile versions of the Facebook app (at the time of writing) don’t let you change this option. Don’t worry though, you only need to do it once – if you don’t have your own computer, you can borrow a friends computer (or may be a work computer if possible.) It only takes 2 minutes.
On a desktop version of Facebook simply navigate to your timeline and select the Friends option underneath your cover photo.
In there just select the pencil icon (see image below) on the right and select Edit Privacy. From there you can select the visibility of your friends list. We recommend Only Me or Friends Only.
We generally recommend people do this. Facebook is a great way to keep in contact with friends and share information, but we should always try and keep the amount of information we share with the general public to a minimum, including how we are friends with on Facebook.