Facebook–Using custom lists to control the visibility of your posts

All along, Facebook have provided a “lists” feature which allows you to group your friends in to categories like “close family”, your “current circle of social friends” or “workmates”. It can even be feasible that one Facebook Friend can be a member of two or more “lists”.

This has been improved so that you can control the visibility of material you post on Facebook so that only certain people can see the material. This is including the ability to make a post “Public” for all to see or “Friends only” just for your Facebook Friends to see.It will remember what setting you used for the last item that you posted.

You can use the custom lists option on the Web user interface as well as the mobile Facebook clients for iOS and Android. At the moment, I don’t know of this being able to  work for other Facebook clients like the TV-based clients or the Pure Sensia Internet radio. This may change when new versions of the firmware for these devices is released.

When you send a friend-request to a potential Facebook Friend, you have the option of classing the friend in one or more of your Custom Lists. Similarly, you can go through your Friends collection and add them to your Custom Lists. Then, when you post a Status Update, Photo, Link or other top-level item on your Wall, you have the option of determining the visibility of this post. Here, you can have it appear “Public” for all to see whether they are Friends or not, “Friends Only” where just your Facebook Friends see the post and “Custom List” where people who are in the Custom List you define see the post.

A question that can be raised with this ability, especially in relation to teenagers, is that you as a parent may want to “Friend” them on Facebook so you can know what is going on and if there is any bullying taking place for example. But this idea may be circumvented by your teenage child setting up a Custom List which encompasses just their mates or the “in” crowd. The teenager’s friends would set up similar Custom Lists for their mates, encompassing your teenager. Then if they want to post stuff that Mum and Dad aren’t to see, they use the Custom List that they have defined. How can you know what’s going on when these Custom Lists are being used.

But it still requires users to be careful about what they post on Facebook and whom to. For example, you should avoid engaging in a confidential conversation on FB using the Wall, rather you send the direct messages to the person involved or use the Chat facility. Infact it is worth paying attention to the reference page that I wrote concerning where to post what in Facebook, and this has become a valuable asset to Facebook newbies.

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