Business vs. Personal: How to Selectively Share on Facebook

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.
You can 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. This process involves creating a list and then adjusting your privacy settings:
  • Click Home, Friends, and then Create List as illustrated by steps 1 through 3 in Figure 1.
  • Assign a name, such as Business Friends, and then click Create, as shown in steps 4 and 5. Leave the Members field blank for now.
Figure 1: Initiating a New Friends List on Facebook
  • Click the Manage Lists button, and then choose Edit List as shown in steps 6 and 7 in Figure 2.
  • Change the On This List setting to Friends, and then click the pictures for any friends you wish to add to the list, as shown by steps 8 through 10. Make similar selections for Pages if you wish to restrict the types of posts that administrators of pages you've liked can view.
  • Click Finish to close the Edit dialog box as shown in step 11.


Figure 2: Managing a Friends List on Facebook


  • Click the arrow indicated by step 12, and then choose Privacy Settings.
  • Click the Custom button indicated by step 14, enter your list name in the Hide This From field, and then click Save Changes.
  • This set the default sharing basis for Facebook.
Figure 3: Choosing Privacy Settings
  • You can use the Custom button to confirm the audience for status updates. A tip appears when you hover over the button, or you can click the button to customize the settings for a specific post.
Figure 4: Confirming or Adjusting the Audience for Any Posts You Make on Facebook

A previous version of this article first appeared on .

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  or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link