Your Private Facebook Friends List Isn’t Actually That Private
Turns out your there are just some things that you cannot hide on Facebook – your friends list is amongst some of them.
Facebook allows users to set who their friend’s list is visible to, and you can do so by setting the list visibility to “Only Me”. The problem is that Facebook doesn’t actually limit your friends’ list visibility to only you; other users can still see some of your friends even if they can’t access the full list.
A user can still see mutual friends with another user regardless of whether or not the user’s friends’ list is private. Accordingly, one is able to see a small selection of that user’s connections, regardless of their privacy settings.
Facebook warns users about this with a warning that reads as follows:
“Remember: Your friends control who can see their friendships on their own timelines. If people can see your friendship on another timeline, they’ll be able to see it in news feed, search and other places on Facebook. They’ll also be able to see mutual friends on your timeline.”
What does this mean, you ask? Basically, that your friends list is only as secure as the privacy settings used by your friend. You are able to view the mutual friends of any two users on Facebook, so long as one of the two users shares his friends list publicly. To make sure that your friends list is indeed private, both friends should set their privacy settings to “Only Me”. Even if you’ve limited who can see your friend list, people can still see the friend lists of your friends if they are in the audience for those lists.