Facebook changes users’ email address information without notification

26 Jun 2012

In a move being described as self-serving and sneaky, Facebook has changed users’ contact information to display @facebook.com email addresses only, without properly notifying users of the change.

If you check the contact information for your Facebook profile today, you will see that the email address listed is an @facebook.com one – whether you wanted it to be or not.

Facebook launched its email service back in November 2010 and introduced it as a unified messaging service, where Facebook messages, emails and chat would all be stored in a single inbox.

Users not clearly notified of switch

Though Facebook at first offered users to opt in to its email service, in April this year users were notified they would each be assigned a custom @facebook.com email address. Though this notification did let users know that this email would be used as a point of contact for Facebook friends and provided the option to switch to a different address, the full intention of this roll-out was not made clear.

Instead of simply including @facebook.com email addresses alongside those that users had already chosen to share, Facebook has made these alternative addresses hidden from view on users’ Timelines.

Blogger Gervase Markham seems to have been the first to spot the switch, noting that if a user had decided to email him before he was aware of the change, he would not receive the email until he checked into Facebook – something he does rarely.

Offering a choice, but making the decision for you

Facebook said in a statement: “As we announced back in April, we’ve been updating addresses on Facebook to make them consistent across our site. In addition to everyone receiving an address, we’re also rolling out a new setting that gives people the choice to decide which addresses they want to show on their Timelines.”

This choice has been made available, however, the way in which Facebook has rolled it out – changing users’ settings and defaulting to its own domain – seems more like the social network is making decisions for its users.

Users can quickly and easily edit their settings to reinstate their original email information simply by clicking ‘About’ on their Timeline and then editing their contact information to display the email address of their choosing.

Inbox image via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.