This morning Facebook launched a new “Friend Lists” feature that will make the problem of organizing your hundreds of Facebook friends a little easier.
Facebook wants their “social graph” (your friend list) to represent the real-world as accurately as possible. However, previously there had been no robust way to distinguish between your best friend and someone you just met at a conference (except for listing “how you know this person”). While this is a complex problem, users are clamoring for more efficient ways to set different boundaries with different types of “friends.”
Currently, Friend Lists lets you 1) organize people into lists (but only for the sake of your own management – these lists don’t show up anywhere on your profile page), and 2) bulk message everyone on a Friend List easily. As I speculated when hints of this feature first showed up back in August, I would expect Facebook to add privacy controls to Friend Lists as well. This is a major challenge, but helping users organize their Friend Lists over time will make Facebook more usable to those with hundreds or thousands of Facebook friends every day.