Business vs. Personal: Controlling What People See on Your Facebook Pages

Mar 15th 2011
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By David H. Ringstrom, CPA

If you have a Facebook account, you've probably faced the dilemma of whether to accept a friend request from a business associate. Declining the invitation can cause wrinkles in professional relationships, but accepting the invitation may mean that you may not be able share as freely as you'd like on Facebook. In this article I'll show you how configure your Facebook friends list so that only your closest friends will see what you post unless you choose to share with a broader group.

I'll first show you how to create a list of friends that you want to exclude from your general posts. I'll then show you how to adjust your Facebook settings so that you can manage what this list of friends gets to see when you post on Facebook. Away we go:

1.Click Profile, and then Edit Profile, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Access your profile.

2.Click on Featured People, as shown in Figure 2.

3.Click the link for Create New List.

Figure 2: In the Featured Friends section, click Create New List.

4. When the Create New List window appears, enter a name such as Business Friends, as shown in Figure 3.

5.Click on any friends that you wish to include in the list, as shown in Figure 4. Your selections will be marked in blue with a checkbox in the lower-left-hand corner. A benefit to this is you can also include pages that you "like" on Facebook. You may not realize that clicking the Like button grants permission to the administrators of those "liked" pages to be able to view your wall and other information on Facebook.

6.Click the Create List button once you've made your selections. You'll be able to easily edit the list at any time going forward.

7.Click to Save your changes.

Figure 3: Assign a name to your list, add friends and "liked" pages, and then click Create List.

8. If the "Business Friends" list appears in your Featured Friends section, you can remove it as shown in Figure 4. Most likely you don't want your "business friends" to know that you think of them as such.

9.Choose Account.

10.Choose Privacy Settings.

Figure 4: You can decide whether or not a list should appear in the Featured Friends section.

11. Click Custom.

12.Click Customize Settings.

Figure 5: Navigating to the Custom Privacy Settings screen.

13.Click the menu next to Posts By Me in the Things I share section and choose Customize, as shown in Figure 6.

14.Enter "Business Friends" in the Hide This From field, and then click Save Setting. Repeat steps 12 and 13 for any of the other items in the Things I Share section that you wish to limit access to.

15.Click the Facebook button in the left-hand corner once you've made your selections.

Figure 6: Configuring privacy for the Things I Share section.

16.On your Profile, click the button with a lock on it below the What's On Your Mind field, and then choose Customize (or Custom, your wording may vary), as shown in Figure 8.

17.Enter Business Friends in the Hide This From These People, click the Make This My Default Setting, and then click Save Setting. Going forward, you can choose Everyone, Friends of Friends, or Friends Only if you want to share something with a broader group.

Figure 7: Setting custom privacy for whatever is on your mind.

Read more articles by David Ringstrom. 

About the author:

David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link.


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