What is the difference between these two features also why can't I create a group "Military"...?

I did a couple quick Google searches, I couldn't really find a place that explained those two features in much depth.

Another thing if anyone knows where there is a guide or cheat sheet to Facebook's privacy settings/features could you please share.

1 Answer 1


The Difference Between Groups and Lists on Facebook:

Conceptually, both of these features are similar. Both give you the ability to create filters and add people to them. Example: you could create a List called Family. You could then add your family members you’ve friended. However, that’s about where their similarities end.

Groups are a way of creating filters for viewing your wall. Say that you created another group called Work Colleagues, and added people to it. When viewing your Wall, you could then select the Work Colleagues group to only see their posts. Groups are also shared with your Friends – they, too, can see these filtered posts in this way. Groups, though, do have a security setting:

  • Open. Everyone can see the members of this Group and read its contents.
  • Closed. Members are public but the content is private.
  • Secret. Members and content is private.

And Groups have customizations. You can add a specific picture to represent the Group, and, you can select which members are admins to the Group. You can also set up an SMTP (email) for the group so that stuff emailed to the custom address will automatically post to its own wall. In these ways, Groups almost look like Pages except you can’t have those security settings.

Lists are a bit different. Using a List, you can also create an object you can add people to. As a matter of fact, this interface for adding people to a List is much more sophisticated than the one for Groups. But it’s not used as a filter against your Wall. Instead, it’s used for security settings on your posts and for your Trust Settings.

Example: if you were to create a List called Circle of Trust and add people you really, really trust to it, you could then select that List when you write a status update by selecting the Lock, hit Customize; then select Specific People; then start typing the name of your List – like, Circle of Trust. Only these people could then see your update.

You can also tie Lists to Facebook’s Privacy Settings. In the upper-right hand Account drop-down, select Privacy Settings, select Custom, then Customize Settings. On the Things I Share List, you can then follow similar instructions as above to restrict these specific items to your List.

It’s also noteworthy to mention that when you create a Group and add people to it, that fact is broadcasted to your wall… even if you flag the group as Secret, which seems kinda counter-intuitive. No such notification happens when you create Lists or add people to Lists.

Conclusion: Too bad that Facebook didn’t see it fit to combine these options because they seem really similar to me, too, and the word ‘Groups’ also describes mailing lists in Facebook, so it adds just another layer of conceptual complexity. But there it is.

As for the Privacy Settings, check the following pages out:

  • Thank you, also any reason I cannot create a group "Military"...?
    – John
    Aug 5, 2011 at 14:16
  • @johnthexiii: You're welcome. I just guess that it may be a reserved word, but I'm not sure. Aug 5, 2011 at 14:19

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