Facebook has announced on its official blog that it will be making changes to have Friends list operate. Friend lists have been a feature of Facebook for some time, however very few users (approximately only 5%) are aware and make use of the feature.
The original blog post can be found from Facebook here.
A summary of the key changes are:
- New Smart lists – You’ll see smart lists that create themselves and stay up-to-date based on profile information that your friends have in common with you such as your work place, school, family members and city or place you live in.
- Close friends and acquaintances lists – You can see updates and content from your best friends’ in one place, and users can choose to see less from people they are not as close to by using the “acquaintances” option. These lists are managed and set up by the user.
- Restricted List – Users can now add people onto a restricted list and they will only see publicly shared posts. Users will still be friends with these contacts on Facebook so can send them messages or tag them in a post but they will be restricted from seeing all content shared. This list is managed and set up by the user.
- Better suggestions – You can add the right friends to lists quickly, without using the old process which users have reported takes too much time and effort.
- Still keeping old friend lists – If you created your own lists on Facebook in the past, then you can still use them. You can also continue to create new lists in the future. When you post something to a list that you’ve created – including Close Friends and Acquaintances lists – no one will be able to see the title of the list.
- More transparent sharing – The people on the list you’ve shared with will be able to see each others’ names. This gives them more context. For example, if users see that a post is shared with five close friends; they may be more likely to comment freely on it than if they don’t know who else could see the post.
- More granular control – Users can control which friends list sees what update or content they share through the news feed option.
These new controls could help to improve Facebook users’ awareness of public sharing and the concept of “digital footprints”. It is important for parents/carers to discuss friends’ lists with any young Facebook users so they can discuss what information is safe and unsafe to share online with different friend groups. This feature may also be helpful to professionals who choose to use Facebook for work purposes.
These changes are due to be rolled out over the next few weeks and may help all users to understand the importance of online privacy in additional to the previously updated privacy controls. Improved friends lists make users more likely to share personal, professional and local content with relevant audiences in a much safer fashion and help them to consider their and present their digital persona appropriately .