Facebook email contact sync issue caused by a bug

3 Jul 2012

Facebook saw a swell of negative reports yesterday as users realised their contacts’ details were being overwritten to include @facebook.com email addresses only. Now, the issue is being blamed on an API bug that Facebook is working to resolve.

Though Facebook spokesperson Meredith Chin originally wrote off the issue as users’ confusion with the new email rollout, The Verge spoke to Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s director of engineering, who revealed that the company had discovered a contact sync API bug.

“Contact synchronisation on devices is performed through an API. For most devices, we’ve verified that the API is working correctly and pulling the primary email address associated with the users’ Facebook account,” he said. “However, for people on certain devices, a bug meant that the device was pulling the last email address added to the account rather than the primary email address, resulting in @facebook.com addresses being pulled. We are in the process of fixing this issue and it will be resolved soon. After that, those specific devices should pull the correct addresses.”

In short, the bug only syncs the most recently added email addresses to every account, hence the overwriting of contacts’ email addresses with their newly assigned @facebook.com emails.

While Facebook did intentionally make it so that @facebook.com addresses were the only visible addresses on Facebook profiles by default (users can still make changes to this visibility), this was not meant to sync across contacts on users’ devices.

Bosworth also said Facebook is working to resolve the issue, which should be fixed by the end of the day.

Bug 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.