How To Post To Specific Facebook Friends Using Lists

Post to specific Facebook friends
Post to specific Facebook friends

You’ve probably heard a story or two about how people got into trouble for something they posted on Facebook, right?

I once read a story about how somebody got fired from their job because of something bad they said about their boss on Facebook, forgetting that the boss was one of their Facebook friends! To make it all more embarrassing, the boss fired the person in a comment on the post!

Sometimes we come across something fun that we’d like to share with some of our Facebook friends, but not with all of them.

So how do you go about posting something to only a few of your Facebook friends?

Well, it turns out that it is quite easy to do. Here’s how…

Step 1: Create A List Of Friends

Facebook allows you to post only to certain individual friends, but it could become quite cumbersome if you want to post regularly to the same sub-set of Facebook friends. The solution is to create a Facebook List of friends that you will be posting to:

  1. Go to your Facebook and click on the Home link near the top-center of the page. That takes you to your News Feed where you see all your friends’ posts.
  2. On the left, below your photo, are groups of links, each with a heading, with one of the headings being Friends. (In my case it’s the 4th item down.) Click on that.
  3. The next page will have a button labeled “+ Create List” near the top-center. Click on that.
  4. A box will now open where you can enter a name for your list and select as many of your Facebook friends who will be members of the list. Enter a name, select your friends, and click on Create List.

Your pre-defined, special-purpose friends list is now created.

To edit a particular list later, after step 2 above, click on the name of the list. Then click on “Manage List” in the top right-hand corner, and select Edit List. A new box will pop up where you can edit the members of the list.

Step 2: Post To The List

Now all you do is enter your Facebook post, but before sending it, you edit your sharing options and select the list that you created in step 1:

  1. Enter your Facebook post.
  2. To the left of the Share button (that would send your post), is an image of a lock, with a small down-arrow next to it. Those are your sharing options. Click on the down-arrow.
  3. The 4th option in the drop-down menu is Customize. Click that.
  4. A box will now open where you can set the privacy of your message.
  5. In the section labeled “Make this visible to” is a drop-down box with the selected option being “Friends Only”. Click on that drop-down box and select “Specific People…”
  6. A text box will be shown below the drop-down box where you can enter the names of your friends that your post is intended for. Enter the name of the list that your created in step 1. Then click on Save Setting.
  7. Click the Share button to send your post to the Walls for your selected friends.

To summarize, to post to a selected group of Facebook friends, create a Facebook list containing your friends and then post to the list. It’s as easy as that!

    • Katherine, the members of a custom list can possibly figure out else is on the list based on comments or likes, but they can’t see the entire list. Those who aren’t on the list will never know that they aren’t on the list because they won’t see posts made to the list.

  • If you make a post to one specific person will they be notified you made it specifically for them?

    • Joy, yes, there will be an entry in the person’s Notifications. The person will possibly also receive an email about it.

      • Thats exactly what happened to me, I shared something political and that person asked why I tagged them>? I said I did not tag you, and she meant included her because she literally screen shotted a notification that said “My name, shared something with you and 5 other people” I was horrified! Like wth

  • Hi,

    Will their friends that are not in the list able to see the post? Hopefully only visibly restricted to the list only

    • Hi Ario. I do not believe that friends of the people in your list can see posts that you make to your list. That would kill the purpose of the list (limiting the audience).

  • Hi John
    If you post to specific friends and those friends like or comment on the post can their friendlist now see the post ?

    • Hi Jacqueline. That is a great question. I tried to find the answer to that, but no luck. I would like to think that only those in the list can see the post, even if a member of the list likes or comments on it. If that is not the case, it defeats the point of having the custom list, so I am optimistic 🙂

      • John, I agree that it defeats the point of having the custom list if friends of people on the friends list can see their replies. But, that doesn’t mean FB coded this correctly. Have you by chance determined if the responses stay only with the friends list?

        • LR, I have not done any testing myself to verify that. If you want 100% verification that FB coded it correctly, I suggest you set up a test with a couple of friends and check results. If you happen to do that, please report back on your results. 🙂

  • Hey John;
    Thanks for this article. As we know to provide users with the best user experience, Facebook decides which of our friends receive our posts based on their interaction such as comments, likes and such. I am wondering if I create and post to a custom list, will all of those that I add to that list receive my posts in their feed, or at least a notification? And then, will those that do read but maybe do not comment or like, will they then be filtered off?

    • Hey Bill. I’m not 100% sure on this, but I think the normal rules, like when posting to your Friends, will apply. I.e., those who have unfollowed (not unfriended) you will not see it in their news feeds. Only those who put you in their Close Friends list will get a notification. And those who don’t Like or comment, may get filtered off. As I see this, it’s the same as sending to Friends, excepting that this is a subset.

    • Darlene, I don’t think so. I believe that normal notification rules apply. The only difference is that you have limited the audience of your post, but everything else stays the same.

  • If I send to one specific friend , can her friends see my post? or is or just my friend that can see it?

    • Hi Annie. I wasn’t 100% sure about the answer, so I tested. The answer is that if you send the post to your friend by selecting the “Specific friends” option in the audience dropdown (next to the Post button), and then selecting only your friend, then only your friend will see your post.

  • What should I do if I am missing an option? I have two “Specific friends” options, but am missing the “Friends except..” option. I’ve looked for a solution for over two weeks, with no luck.

    • Amanda, I just checked my phone and Facebook website, and the “Friends except…” option was there in both cases. Does it not appear on your phone? If so, try the “See more” or “See All” options to see all the other available options.

  • hi.. john..i wanted to know..if i share post using specific to friend option,would friends of my friend can see that post on his time line??

    • Good question, Anita. I couldn’t find confirmation of this on Facebook, but I believe that friends of your friend would not be able to see the post on his timeline. It would defeat the whole purpose of having a list with only specific people on it.

  • Hi John. I created an album and set to specific friends only, but i tagged one of them on a photo. Can their friends see it on their timeline? Thank you!

  • If I put a Facebook post up just for one specific friend to see, will my specific friend see that I have only made that status for them or will they think it’s like any other status?

  • Many thanks for this Forum.
    If I select One Friend as “Specific” and share a FB Post, will He know that Only He was selected.
    Also, if I Select 4 Friends, as “Specific” will all 4 know who were included in the Sharing too.

  • John. I made a friends list and named it. I clicked the utility gear and select “edit list.” The interface is easy, BUT… When you send a post to that list, the exact post plops down on each person’s wall. Which I find intrusive. The better way would be if everyone on the list were notified and brought to my original master post on my wall.
    But no. They don’t come back to your page where comments and replies can flow in from all recipients and aggregate so you can see them. Instead clones of your post sit on everyone’s individual wall, often buried way down the wall, with no notification to the list member.
    If these dozens of clone posts landed on top of the list, that would be one thing but they’re buried. In many cases I scrolled entire walls of friends in my list and couldn’t find my post. (Some might have been deleted immediately by recipients who found them intrusive, unwelcome.)
    If anyone likes it or comments on my post while it’s sitting on a friend’s wall, I don’t see that feedback. It stays there on the list member’s page, not on mine. Which makes it useless for distributing link to my original content and getting feedback. I expected to see everyone’s feedback on my master post at my wall. That’s not what happens.
    I hope this helps. – Tim

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