How to Make Your Friends List Private on Facebook in 2024

As a small business owner dedicated to helping entrepreneurs succeed online, I often advise reviewing privacy settings on social platforms like Facebook. Your friends list can reveal a wealth of personal information, so keeping it private should be a priority. In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll explain exactly how to make your Facebook friends list private in 2024.

The Privacy Risks of Public Friends Lists

With over 2.91 billion monthly active users, Facebook hosts a massive social graph. The average user has over 150 friends. That‘s a lot of personal connections and data that could be exposed!

Public friends lists allow strangers, as well as "Friends of Friends", to browse your connections. This can lead to several types of issues:

  • Targeted attacks: Scammers or hackers can use friend data to research or impersonate you. In 2021, 26% of social media cyberattack victims were targeted based on friends/connections.
  • Embarrassing exposures: We all have contacts we may not want public. Old classmates, certain family members, etc. This information is revealed if friends lists are public.
  • Unwanted contact: Strangers, secondary connections or old contacts can use friend data to reach out or connect in unwanted ways.
  • Loss of context: Seeing your friends out of context can lead to assumptions, misrepresentations and gossip.
  • Stalkers/Harassment: Abusers and stalkers can exploit public friend data to monitor victims or reconnect after being cut off.

Overall, a private friends list helps guard your social circle and prevents others from accessing personal information without your consent.

Step-by-Step: How to Make Your Facebook Friends List Private

Adjusting your friends list privacy is a quick and easy process on both desktop and mobile. I‘ll walk through how to do it on each:

On a Desktop Browser

  1. Go to www.facebook.com and log into your account.
  2. Click the down arrow at the top right and select Settings & Privacy.
  3. Click on Settings in the left sidebar.
  4. Select Privacy from the left sidebar menu.
  5. Scroll down and click Edit next to "Who can see your friends list?".
  6. In the dropdown menu, select Only Me to make it private.

In the Facebook Mobile App

  1. Open the Facebook app and tap the hamburger menu (three lines) at bottom right.
  2. Scroll down and tap Settings & Privacy.
  3. Tap Settings.
  4. Tap Privacy Shortcuts.
  5. Tap Who Can See Your Friends List?
  6. Select Only Me.

And that‘s all it takes – now your list is fully private! I recommend double checking it from a separate browser logged out of your account just to verify.

Customizing Your Friends List Visibility

You may want to customize your settings a bit more to allow certain people to view your friends list:

  • Public: Anyone including strangers/search engines
  • Friends: Your Facebook friends only
  • Specific Friends: Only people you select
  • Only Me: Completely private (recommended)
  • Custom: Mix of friends/lists/exceptions

The custom option offers the most control. You can exclude specific friends from seeing the list. This is handy for maintaining privacy from acquaintances or distant connections you interact with rarely but don‘t want nosing around your friends.

Additional Privacy Settings to Review

Locking down your friends list is one of the most important privacy steps on Facebook. But you should also review these other critical settings:

Profile Privacy: Limit info visibility
Old Posts: Restrict past post access
Tags: Control tag visibility
App Permissions: Remove unused apps
Ads: Limit ad targeting
Facial Recognition: Opt out if desired
Two-Factor Authentication: Add for account security

Continue evaluating your privacy settings every few months. Facebook often adds new options and changes existing defaults, so it‘s good to give them a refresh.

I hope this guide provides a straightforward overview of how to keep your friends list private on Facebook. Social privacy is crucial for both personal and professional use. Please reach out if you need any further assistance dialing in your Facebook privacy settings!