How to Make Your Friends List Private On Facebook

Facebook is all about making friends. Back in MySpace days, people would display their friends on their profiles, almost as trophies. In this day and age, however, things are a bit different. In addition to the growing privacy concerns, there’s also the good-old matter of keeping your stuff to yourself.

By default, Facebook makes your entire list of friends available to everyone, but how can you restrict the list to a smaller audience? The answer is quite simple. Here’s how to make your friends list on Facebook private and some other valuable friends privacy tips.

How to Make Your Facebook Friends List Private

Configuring who can see your “Friends” list on Facebook is relatively simple, but it takes some digging. You’re going to dig deep within your privacy settings. You can control who sees your friends list from your phone/tablet and the browser version of Facebook. Let’s start with the browser option.

facebook make friends private

How to Make Your Friends’ List Private – Web Browser

To hide your ‘Friends’ list using your computer, you must use a browser, which applies to Windows, macOS, Linux, and Chromebook. You can use any browser you like. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Open a web browser and log in to your Facebook account.
  2. Click on your profile icon in the top-right section of the page.
  3. Select Settings & Privacy from the options. Then, click on Settings.
  4. Click on Privacy.
  5. Click on Check a few important settings.
  6. Click on Who can see what you share.
  7. Click Continue to move forward to the Privacy Checkup page.
  8. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select the dropdown menu to the right of Who can see your friends list on your profile? Then, click Only me.
  9. If you want to hide the accounts you’re following, change the dropdown next to Who can see People, pages, and lists you follow? to Only me.

After following these steps no one can see your friends’ list. You can also choose customization options that allow all of your friends or only some of your friends to see your list.

How to Make Your Friends’ List Private – Mobile App

If you want to filter your ‘Friends’ list privacy settings for others when using the Facebook app on your phone or tablet, follow the instructions below.

  1. Launch the “Facebook” app and tap the “hamburger icon” (Menu). iOS users will find the menu in the lower left corner and Android users will see it in the upper right corner.
  2. Tap on the Settings icon at the top of the menu.
  3. Tap Privacy Checkup.
  4. Choose How can see what you share.
  5. Tap Continue to view the privacy checkup page.
  6. Scroll down to the Who can see your friends list on your profile option and select Only me.

If you want your friends, or certain friends, to see what you post select one of those options rather than Only me.

You can also select Only me next to Who can see the people, Pages and lists you follow? to limit who can see the people you follow.

Facebook Friends List Privacy Options Explained

Not only can you make your Facebook ‘Friends’ list private, but you can also change who can see it so that it remains visible to certain people. Depending on the selected privacy option, you can choose specific friend lists, specific friends, friends only, etc.

Here’s an explanation of each ‘Friends’ list privacy option.

  • Public: Everyone on Facebook can see your ‘Friends’ list.
  • Friends: Only your Facebook friends can see your ‘Friends’ list.
  • Friends except: All Facebook friends except those specified can see your ‘Friends’ list.
  • Specific friends: Only friends you specify can see your ‘Friends’ list.
  • Only me: Only you can see your ‘Friends’ list.
  • Custom: In the “Share with” section, only people in the “Lists” you select (“Close friends,” “Acquaintances,” “custom created lists,” etc.) or people you specify can see your ‘Friends’ list. In the “Don’t share with” section, only lists or people you choose won’t see your ‘Friends’ list.
  • See All: This option expands the privacy choices to include all used custom lists (premade or custom made). Only people from the ‘Lists’ you choose in the dropdown can see your ‘Friends’ list.

To break the options down more, if you select “Friends,” only your friends can see your ‘Friends’ list. If you choose “Friends except…,” you’ll be prompted to choose which specific friends you don’t want, seeing who your friends are. Selecting “Specific friends” allows you to pick individual friends you want seeing your list. Choosing “Only me” will prevent all Facebook users from seeing your friends list.

You can also select “Custom” for more advanced filtering. It contains both a “Share with” and “Don’t share with” section that lets you choose ‘Friends’ lists and specific friends to allow or deny being able to view your friends.

Lastly, the “See All” option in the dropdown list adds all active custom lists to the available choices. Additions include premade Facebook lists you use and any custom lists you labeled and filled.

Friends List Privacy on Facebook Live

Naturally, you may want to restrict your friends when doing Facebook Live. That’s also very simple to pull off. As long as you have configured your ‘Friends’ list privacy settings, you can do live videos on Facebook for everyone, specific lists, or certain people. You can even do Facebook Live using “Only me.” In addition, you can stream live on pages you manage and groups where you’re a member.

The rules are simple. You can access the ‘Friends’ list choices on the Facebook Live screen that you’re using. It’s all pretty intuitive, and you shouldn’t have issues picking your perfect privacy settings for Facebook Live.

Facebook Friends List Privacy FAQs

Here are the answers to more questions about Facebook’s friends’ list.

Are there ways that people can get around your private friends list restrictions?

People may still be able to see if you’re friends with someone, even if you’ve selected “Only me” in the privacy settings. This scenario occurs because they can see the “Friends’ list of others who are also friends with you unless that user also restricted them.

If they can see that you’re friends with someone via their profile, they can also access this information from the ‘News Feed,’ as well as ‘Search,’ and many other options on Facebook. Yes, this includes the ‘Mutual friends’ view.

Does my Facebook Friends List Privacy Settings apply to Facebook Live?

Yes, whatever ‘Friends’ privacy settings you have established for Facebook also apply to Facebook Live. When you go “live,” you’ll see your audience choices available. Only those you choose (‘Friends’ lists, only you, or specific people) get access to the live feed.

Can other users still see my mutual friends?

Yes. Even if you hide your friend’s list, other users will see that you have mutual friends and who those friends are.


In closing, Facebook privacy settings are pretty much ubiquitous. However, accessing the ‘Friends’ list privacy settings may not be as apparent and obvious as they could be. Hopefully, you’ve found this article helpful and set friends list privacy in a way that suits you.

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