How to Hide Friends on Facebook

By: Contributors & Zach Taras  | 
Woman using mobile device in kitchen at home.
The default Facebook privacy settings allow the public to see your friend list. You can change and customize this in your settings options on Facebook. MoMo Productions / Getty Images

What if you don't want your Facebook friends list visible to anyone who happens to visit your profile? Fortunately, if this is one of your privacy concerns — and you wouldn't be alone in feeling this way — there's a way to keep it hidden. Read on to learn how to hide friends on Facebook.


Why Would You Want to Hide Your Facebook Friends List?

While the default on the Facebook app is to keep everyone's friends public, there are a few reasons why a person might want to make their friends list private.

Keeping Your Friends List Hidden for Security

While it might seem to be innocuous, keeping your Facebook friends list public can actually be a security liability. Unfortunately the reality is that cyber crime is rampant on the internet, and the more information online criminals have access to, the easier it for them to commit fraud.


An enterprising cyber criminal can look at your Facebook profile, copy your friends list and profile picture, and go about creating a fake account. From there, they can contact the people on your friends list, reaching out to them for information, requesting money or engaging in other shady tactics.

Therefore, the security of social media platforms can be enhanced by keeping your friends list private.

Avoiding Harassment

Life can get complicated, and altercations or disputes you have in one area of life are usually best contained however possible. Besides fraud, it's unfortunately also common to encounter at least some amount of online harassment at one time or another.

If you select "only me" in your Facebook friend list, you can exert more control in how much access someone has to your larger network of friends and contacts.

Hiding Your Friends List for Privacy

Keeping your Facebook friends list private can simply be a personal preference. Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of widespread transparency.

If you like having more control of the information available about you online, keeping your friends list on your Facebook profile private is a good way to start.


How to Hide Your Facebook Friends List on a Desktop or Laptop

Hiding your friends list is a pretty easy thing to do, but the exact procedure will vary depending on your platform or device. If you're using a desktop or laptop computer, take the following steps.

  1. Open your web browser of choice and log onto Facebook.
  2. On the top right-hand side of the browser window, click on your profile picture.
  3. From the drop down menu, select "Settings and Privacy." Then click on "Settings."
  4. Underneath the "Audience and Visibility" section, select "How people find and contact you."
  5. Find the "Who can see your friends list" section. Click on the adjacent tab, which will likely be "Public," the default setting.
  6. You will now see a pop up window that gives several options besides the default of "Public." If you select "Only me" you will be the only one who can see your friends list. Selecting "Done" will make the setting official.

The other options allow varying degrees of transparency and control. You can limit it just to your mutual friends, or to specific friends you feel comfortable sharing with.


How to Hide Your Friends List on a Smart Phone

Whether you have an iPhone or an Android device, you can use the Facebook app to control who can see your friends list.

  1. On your device, open your Facebook app.
  2. On Android, tap on the three horizontal lines at the upper right of the screen. On iOS, they will be near the lower right.
  3. Select "Settings and Privacy" and then tap "Settings."
  4. Navigate to the "Audience and Visibility" section. Click on "How people find and contact you." Click on the tab beside on it.
  5. Choose one of the different settings. "Only me" is the most private, but you can also customize the people who can see your friends list.


Facebook Privacy FAQ

How do I make my Facebook page private?
Navigate to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Privacy. In the "Your Activity" section, change "Who can see your future posts?" to "Friends." Click "Limit Past Posts" and change "Who can see the people, Pages and lists you follow?" to "Only Me." You can also change the settings in the "How People Find and Contact You" section to be as private as you want.
How do I make all Facebook photos private?
While your current photo or profile pic will be public, you can change the setting of your old photo album by navigating to Photos > Albums from your profile. Select "Edit Album" from the three dots and change to "Only me" from the options. Unfortunately, there is not currently a way to make all of your pictures private in mass.
How do I set my Facebook account to private on mobile?
Navigate to Menu > Settings & Privacy > Settings > Privacy Settings. Change all options to the strictest settings.