Day 17

Clean Out Your Friends Lists


DAY 17: Clean Out Your Friends Lists

Welcome to Day 17 of my 30 day security challenge, the month long challenge I created to help you gain control of your privacy and security online. You can follow along with the security challenge via my blog at, where you can skip ahead or download a checklist of the challenge. Each video will also be curated into a playlist so it'll be easy to follow along from Day 1 all the way through 30 here on Youtube.

Today, we're going to audit our friends list. There are a few major reasons for culling your friends list down to a minimum of people that you can trust - and that main reason is for your privacy.

We all know that you shouldn't friend people on Facebook for example that you don't personally know. But what about those people that you've met in passing? Convention acquaintances? Old friends from high school that you haven't talked to in years? Old coworkers? Friends of friends? That person you met at a bar once?

The question you should ask yourself is: Can I trust this person to respect my privacy? If you don't know them well enough to answer that question, then you may want to lean on the side of privacy. People could get hacked, they could send out spammy links, or their own privacy settings may be set incorrectly which could effect your own security on a social network, most notably Facebook.

Another reason to cull your friends list is for your own sanity. Facebook is time consuming and can be a constant stress factor. Completely culling that list down to a minimum will not only make your account more secure, but it'll also save you a lot of time each day so you can simply focus on the people that matter most to you, instead of hundreds of acquaintances.

But before you dive in and start just deleting everyone, choose how you want to go about the process. Do you want to make it a family only environment? A place for colleagues from work as well? What is your preference? Stick with it, so if anyone asks, you can tell them why you are culling your list. It may be because "Facebook is becoming too overwhelming for me" or "I wanted to create a private place for my closest relatives" etc. Coming up with a reason is important, especially if you think anyone might message you asking why you unfriended them. Having a reason will keep you and that acquaintance in good graces. That is, if you care.

So, now that you've got a reason for removing folks, you can choose to either announce it on your profile, directly in messages, or keep it a private matter. Social networks (Facebook specifically) don't tell folks when you unfriend them, so they won't know unless they visit your profile page. Ask yourself "How often do I visit this persons profile page?" Is it never? Chances are it's the same vice versa.

Go to your profile page and click on friends. There's a little pencil that lets you edit the privacy of who can see your friends list, who can see who follows you, and who can see stuff you follow. I have all of mine set to "Only Me" which is the most private option. These options are pretty self explainatory.

Scroll down on your Friends page and start culling. Hover over the "Friends" button next to their name to unfriend them, or add them to a list. Later, you can customize lists so only certain people see certain things. When you click on Unfriend, you'll see a blue button appear that says "Add Friend" so if you made a mistake, you can easily add them back.

I suggest auditing your friends list once a year to keep your Facebook lists to a minimum. Relationships and friendships change over time, and given how much information folks put on social networks, it's a good idea to keep an eye on WHO you're sharing that information with.

Now, while I focused on Facebook for today's video, you can use these same techniques on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and more especially if you have private or protected accounts on these networks. Pro tip: If you can live without the social network, just delete your account completely using the site guide. Your friends will understand.

Day 17 is now complete! Tomorrow is all about editing your third party app permissions. Yup, you heard right! But first, make sure to subscribe on youtube and hit up for the downloadable checklist and to skip ahead on the 30 day security challenge. Again, I'm Shannon Morse and I'll see you tomorrow for day 18!