Careful: Friends on Facebook's "Smart Lists" can see each other's names on your postsSFbayarea writes: So all of a sudden FB is listing BY NAME everyone you share a status update or other post with (if you use subset lists of your entire “friends” population) so everyone can see literally everyone else you shared that post with. You need to warn your readers. This is crazy…

Hi there! So Facebook is, indeed, letting your friends see the names of everyone else you shared a post with—but only if you’re posting an update to a Friend List.

These Friend Lists, if you recall, have been around for quite some time, but Facebook recently gave them a major facelift, making them easier to use and far more visible from your Facebook profile. (You can read all about the changes right here.)

One of the handiest features of the new and improved Friend Lists is the ability to click on a list and see only the News Feed items from those particular friends. You can also choose to share specific photos, videos, links or other status updates only with a specific Friend List. All you have to do is choose the list you’d like to share with, using a pull-down menu in the revamped Status Update window.

But, here’s the thing: while friends on your various Friend Lists can’t see the name of the list they’re on—meaning no one will ever know that their name is sitting on your “People I barely know” list—they will be able to see the names of anyone else on the list as soon as you post a status update.

Specifically, your friends on that list will see a little gear icon next to your post—and if they “hover” over the icon with their mouse, they’ll see the names of everyone else with whom you shared the update.

5 best things about Facebook's revamped "Friends Lists"

If you post a status update to a specific "Friend List," your friends on the list will be able to see each other's names.

This includes both any custom Friend Lists you create and the new “default” lists, such as “Close Friends” and “Acquaintances,” according to Facebook.

An exception to the rule are Facebook’s new “Smart Lists,” which are created automatically based on where you live, your current and past jobs, and your family members. If you post an update to, say, your New York “Smart List,” friends on that list will only see the name of the list—and given that everyone on the list probably knows they live in New York, it seems unlikely anyone would be offended.

Now, to be fair, Facebook does warn you that your friends may see each others names when you post to a specific list—or at least it did when I was initially setting up my new Friend Lists.

So … is this a bad thing? Not according to Facebook, which says that letting friends on a list see each other’s name “gives the more context”:

For example, if I see that a post is shared with my five closest friends, I am much more likely to comment freely on it than I would be if I didn’t know who else could see the post.

All the same, it’s a “feature” that might catch you by surprise when you first see it in action—and especially if you feel that your friends will figure out which list they’re on just by reading each other’s names.

Of course, the list that might cause the most embarrassment is the new “Restricted” list, which blocks bosses, conniving colleagues, and other frenemies from seeing anything but your publicly shared updates.

The good news, though, is that there doesn’t seem to be any way post an update to the Restricted list (or at least, none that I could find), which means your banned “friends” shouldn’t even be able to see each other’s names.

So, that’s the story. But what if you do want to post an update for specific friends while keeping their names private?

Try this: From the “Update Status” window, select “Custom,” then type some names into the “Make this visible to” or “Hide this from” fields. Then, once you post your update, your friends will only see a “Custom” tag when they hover over the gear icon rather than a list of names.

So, what do you think? Do you care that the friends on your Friend Lists can see each other’s names?

Looking for more Facebook tips and how-tos? Click here!

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