Saturday, January 10, 2009

Facebook Privacy: The Limited Profile Blacklist

if you're a facebook user and have even the slightest inclination towards maintaining a certain amount of privacy you've probably run into the problem of having contacts you want to have on your friend list but who you want to share fewer details with than you do with others... maybe it's a friend who isn't as close as some of your other friends, maybe a spouse or other family member, maybe it's a work contact... whatever the reason is, you're in luck because facebook has privacy controls that are remarkably flexible...

the first method i encountered for doing this is called the limited profile method - the name and concept is a carry-over from when facebook's privacy controls were simpler but less flexible... what it used to entail doesn't really matter anymore, but what it entails now is this:
  1. you make a new friend list called "Limited Profile" (though actually you can name it whatever you like) and add to that list the people who you want to have only limited access to your profile
  2. then under "Settings->Privacy Settings" you go through all the basic profile, contact information, photo albums, and applications and for those things you want to keep secret you choose the "Customize" option
  3. then enter either a person's name or in this case "Limited Profile" (so that you don't have to do this over and over again each time you add a friend with limited access) in the "Except These People" box
  4. and finally don't forget to save your changes
now as an example, if there's a photo album you don't want just anyone to see and you've configured that album to with "Limited Profile" in the "Except These People" box then anyone in the "Limited Profile" friend list should be unable to see the photos in that photo album..

this blocking of people on the "Limited Profile" list is essentially an application of the blacklist concept (kind of like a list of banned people)... it's pretty simple but also pretty effective... this is the first model of privacy protection i played with and although i've moved on to other techniques for the most part i still use this for a very special person; someone i can't reasonably keep off my friends list but also someone i don't want knowing all my business - my mom...

related posts:
Facebook Privacy: Beyond The Blacklist - Whitelists
Facebook Privacy: Beyond The Blacklist 2 - Sandboxes


penny dreadful said...

Thank you. I've been looking for this. Really helpful. :)