Facebook has changed everyone’s e-mail address to ‘@facebook.com’

In 2010 Facebook launched its own e-mail service, giving all Facebook users their very own @facebook.com e-mail address which can be used to communicate with the outside world. When it was launched Facebook e-mail was called a ‘Gmail killer’. Fast-forward to 2012 and we now know the only thing Facebook e-mail has killed is time. Still, however, Facebook seems determined to make users use Facebook e-mail. In a move that is likely to receive a lot of criticism, over the weekend Facebook has changed all Facebook users’ listed e-mail addresses to ‘@facebook.com’.

Over the weekend Facebook silently changed everyone’s listed e-mail address to their @facebook.com one. When I say “listed e-mail address” I mean the e-mail address(es) attached to your Facebook profile — the one(s) you see under the ‘Contact Information’ of your profile. According to reports, if you already had your @facebook.com e-mail address listed then any other e-mail addresses you had listed were hidden; if you didn’t have your @facebook.com e-mail listed, then your @facebook.com e-mail was added and other e-mail addresses hidden.

As per my experience (I didn’t have my @facebook.com e-mail address listed), the @facebook.com e-mail address is added with ‘Friends Only’ and ‘Show on Profile’ privacy settings; you are given the ability to change the settings, if you desire.

Unfortunately there is no way to remove the @facebook.com e-mail address from your profile. You can, however, select to display the e-mail address to ‘Only Me’ and select to make it ‘Hidden From Profile’ if you don’t want anything to do with the address. You can also modify the settings for your other e-mail addresses to re-show them if desired. Simply head over the Edit Profile -> Contact Information section of Facebook to make these changes.

For those that don’t know, any e-mails sent to your @facebook.com address are received in your Facebok Messages inbox; and you have the ability to reply to any e-mail address from the same place — all outgoing messages are sent using your @facebook.com address.

In of itself the concept behind @facebook.com isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it has its pros (e.g. protecting users’ private e-mail addresses) and cons (e.g. forcing users to manage another e-mail address). This article isn’t judging Facebook e-mail; we aren’t saying it is good or bad. The issue at hand is how Facebook stealthily made this change to users’ profiles.

What Facebook should have done is made an announcement of this change and, ideally, prompt users with a notification the next time they login allowing users to pick what they want to do. Instead what Facebook did was abuse the trust people have given it by forcing an intimate change on its users.

In its defense Facebook says it made an announcement back in April mentioning users would get updated URLs and e-mail addresses; and that Facebook will roll out “a new setting that gives people the choice to decide which addresses they want to show on their timelines”, presumably hinting at this @facebook.com change that just happened over the weekend.

I’m not a major Facebook user. The only reason I have a Facebook account is for dotTech’s fan page. If I was a Facebook regular, I was be extremely upset at this new development. How about you? Lash out (or defend Facebook) in the comments below.

[via LA Times]

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27 comments

  1. MikeR

    @jayesstee:

    Nothing wrong with ire. Nothing wrong with a tinge of regret, either, for the way things used to be, back when the absurd pomposity of a “social network” had never been heard of and when people were something more than mere bytes.

    @ meldasue: Facebook may require your real name and address, but that doesn’t mean you have to tell ‘em. Google asks for your real name, too, for a gmail account, but none of the 10 gmail accounts I have were registered that way. (It never ceases to amaze me, the number of gmail holders who dream up imaginative little account names but actually register in their true name. Why?)

    The irony of the Internet is that it gave freedom to everyone to just be themselves. . . but also gave freedom to every advertiser, scammer, profiteer and pervert to come chasing after them. As a result, the Internet is a marvellous place to be yourself. . . so long as you always appear to be someone else.

    @ Ashraf: You do realise, the profiling of your posters on this thread would lead to the identification of a collective / gross net worth, and an estimate of collective disposable income, such as to make dot.tech justifiably more valuable than Facebook. Surely, an IPO is about due?

    Ah well. . . Time for me to pop into Facebook again, and plunder it of some other commercial offering in this lunch hour break of mine from being a gorgeous 23-year-old green-eyed redhead called Angela working as an analyst with a major Wall Street brokerage who collects teddy bears and adores firemen.

  2. jayesstee

    @MikeR:

    Brilliant! Your humorous prose is more powerful than my ire. Thank you for the lesson.

    PS, re your “Hopefully, some of ‘em will read your piece and . . . . ”
    Do the lemmings read anything other than TwitFace?

  3. MikeR

    Great piece, Young Master Ashraf . Sherioushly though . . . I have a Facebook account and for some reason, it’s peopled with ‘friends’ I don’t know and have never heard of, yet all of ‘em know me. Even though all my details are fictitious. I also have some acquaintences, albeit not that many daft enough to give their true identities to the Zuck, and from time to time they arrange for FB to send me emails inviting me to be their friends.

    Oh Gawd. Is that pathetic or is that not? Friends I’ll stay with for a week or a weekend. Friends I’ll go away with on holiday. Friends I’ll meet down at the pub. Friends I’ll talk to and, if that ain’t possible by phone, then by email or even by IM. But friends via Facebook. . .?

    ‘S about as nauseating as Twatter, where it seems one has to live in hope you’ll have “followers” because of your post to the effect that this morning, you brushed your teeth twice. Oh gosh wowee wow.

    There’s an entire world of desperately-seeking immortality hunters out there who probably weren’t around when Warhol said that one day, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. At the time he said that, I couldn’t quite figure out what he meant. Nowadays though, I appreciate both his foresight and his sense of the ironic: all these ‘friends’ and all these ‘followers’ do nothing more than feast emptily at a transient, meaningless celebration of the banal and the mediocre. It’s one step away from so-called reality TV, where Desperately Seeking Fame gets no more puerile nor pitiable.

    Of course, I’m spectacularly hypocritical here because I truly value my own Facebook account: it harvests lots of free software as and when I want it from developers daft enough to think that the average Facebook user — the average, I stress — represents a pot of gold just waiting to be tapped.

    But there ain’t any such pot of gold. Not amongst that age group. Disposable income is with those who have enough cash to be be able to dispose of it, and nowadays that ain’t the kids or the youngsters but a much older, wiser and having-a-helluva-lot-more-fun age group who are neither Twits (or whatever the name is) or people who think friendship is not much more than a computer hot key.

    Hopefully, some of ‘em will read your piece and realise: Facebook actually holds ‘em in contempt — they’re not the Zuck’s customers, but the Zuck’s corporate fodder. Be even better if some of ‘em would say, stuff this for a lark, I’m off down the pub to have a beer and a chat. Cheers!

  4. toto

    I have 2 Facebook accounts. I almost never use them excepted when some guy/site want absolutely me logging with a FB account. I have 2 accounts because at a time I forgot I had one already.

    My privacy and personal data are mine, and only I can decide what to do with them. I you don’t understand that, you may not understand how the web works: absolutely nothing can be kept private. Youngsters are totally ignorant of that because they believe the world is nice. When they realize it’s not true, they go into depressive mental states, sometimes very deep, or too deep.

    Thus, there is nothing to discuss regarding FB: always lie about your personal data. I lie about my age (always young LOL), my name, my location, etc., and whatever some stupid guy/site think I’ll give away for free something that can be used against me (especially spam). So all stats regarding age are to be considered as flawed.

    I’m not really against FB. I don’t care because I know what’s all about. Social networks through the Internet are everything BUT social. In fact, they promote individualism. And many people do not know that there are no more than 1.2 billion computers in the whole world (mostly in developed countries like the ones in OECD), to compare with more than 7 billion human beings and 500 million FB registered users.

    Remember, all things created by humanity have been created WITHOUT computers.

    The only positive thing about FB and the like, is that their founders and other stockholders are getting loads of money when they enter the NASDAQ.

    Social networks do NOT produce added value if anything –they just spend resources (time, energy, commodities, …). For what?

  5. meldasue

    ‘Older’ gen here (40 plus) – I think the difference is being old enough to think before you put your credit rating, career and personal security at risk.

    Honestly, I think it’s fine for people to connect that way – whatever works. Personally, I hate phones – I can’t count how often I’ve been ignored by someone because they *had* to answer their phone. Texting, Facebook, whatever – you can put people ‘on hold’ politely while you deal with the real person right in front of you.

    That said, I refuse to join Facebook because it requires my full real name and will not allow me to keep this information private. People need to seriously think about the information they’re giving out to complete strangers.

  6. Josh

    Well, if I were a FB user, I would just leave the email address like that and simply ignore all the email it generates by neither reading, nor deleting it. That way it becomes their problem. I can live without it, thank you.

  7. sl0wj0n

    Hello, all.
    Ashraf wrote: “interested in knowing the ages of the people that are commenting against Facebook”.
    I don’t ‘like’ facebook [facecrook], or like it, either.
    I’m pushing 60.
    Like “Leslie” said, “You want to get in touch with a real friend then try using the telephone !!”
    Really, if someone truly is your ‘friend’, don’t you know their telephone number?
    Yeah, I txt my wife, and 1 or 3 others. [Lately, been tryn' to txt on my computer.]
    But mostly, its faster to PICK UP the FONE!
    Today I got a txt my wife sent on the 23rd! Hey, that’s SO lame!
    ‘Facebook’ had its chance w/ me, way back when.
    I opened an account, because I was concerned about some people [*young* people] being able to contact me, if they ‘needed’ to.
    But it didn’t take long to see where facecrook was going, and I found out how to stealth my account.
    One guy I know was looking for me on facecrook, but since I stealthed it, he couldn’t find it, at ALL.
    I had heard that you couldn’t close an account, so I just stealthed it.
    I may go back and delete it, but it may not be worth the time or trouble.
    Hey, I’m old, and although I’m planning on being here a very *long* time, I don’t intend to waste two seconds,
    that I don’t have to.
    Stay off facecrook.

    Have a GREAT day, neighbors!

  8. Elric

    I am definitely not the younger generation (in my 50′s) and I use facebook. I have found alot of my old friends from school on there. Facebook is basically only as bad as you use it. Yes I found out about the email change yesterday via a newsletter I get from Cnet and it gave instructions on how to change it back. Was what facebook did wrong (in that they didn’t tell anybody first) yes but it isn’t the end all to everything. There is a simple fix and then it is done. You don’t have to put your entire life on there. And as for your date of birth all you have to put is the month and day so to protect yourself. Again people can only find your info by what you put. If you are that worried about what people can find out about you, then don’t ever google or even bing yourself. Because you might just be surprised what you find.

  9. Lance

    Interesting comments. I am of the ancient generation, and was shanghaied into Facebook by a younger relative.
    The only problem is the FB name I use confuses people, who don’t recognize it. The point I’m trying to make is I didn’t use my real name or birthdate and if anyone needs to reach me, they know how. Anything sent to a facebook.com address for me deserves not to be read!

    And kudos to Ashraf for the great job he’s doing!

    KUTGW

  10. Paul

    I guess I’m part of the semi older ( 40s) that uses Facebook and the latest change is a big deal in one way but not really in another. It is a big deal because they are constantly changing things and setting behind the scenes. People hate when they do that, especially when. they forced ” timeline” line on everyone( i hate it).
    In another way the email thing is not a big deal because most people who want to contact me on Facebook use the private message feature or the chat feature which are now connected. The only things i normally receive in email are event/birthday notifications and friend requests. ( i have all the other crap turned off)

    I use Facebook as a way to keep up with relatives and friends who live in other states and countries. I also use it to play some of the games with friends too.. I avoid the Zynga games cuz of the way they make you ” spam” everyone on your friends list with gifts whether they play the game or not.
    I do not use twitter!

  11. Leonel

    First let me thank you for bringing this to our attention and also for providing instructions to modify this listing… I am of the ‘older’ set but I don’t hold it against FB for trying to promote their brand or their enterprise. And while I do thinking that they may have been better served by notifying their subscribers of the upcoming change with an opt-out option, it is their service and it is available to the world for FREE!

    I opted out, per the instructions you provided, not because I feel vi0lated but because I am not a regular FB user and would prefer to have emails sent to an address that I monitor on a daily basis.

  12. Mick

    I’m in the older set I think… 40′s…

    I have no need or desire for Facebook, so I have never had an account. I, too, believe it to be very superficial, would love to see the stock fall to nothing (despite its recent significant recovery), and also hope that it’s a fad that will pass with time.

    That said, I think some of you need to dial back the hyperbole and get a dose of reality.

    Facebook is a private company trying to make a profit, offering a well-liked service — for free!!

    If you want to use what they have to offer, then you subject yourself to their whims. Ooooh, they changed xxxx or they updated yyyy…. Big deal. Put on your big girl panties. It’s their game, they can play it however they want.

    But to say they are worse than Hitler and the Nazis??? Grow the fuck up. Facebook is a scourge and I’d like to see it die a quick death. But there is NO COMPARISON between the two. Go read a fucking history book before you make such incredibly insulting insensitive statements.

  13. jayesstee

    @Janetb: I love your definition: “extreme promoter of superficiality. ”

    Let me declare my “age profile”. On the outside, very, very old. On the inside, 23. (Been that for over xx years!)

    I do not need Twitter or Facebook, herein known as “TwitFace”.

    I do not have a problem with people who use TwitFace, only the cretins who allow Twitface to use them.

    The people who have to have a semi-permanent real-time involvement with TwitFace have a mental age of 11 or younger. On the outskirts of my family, there are family members who no longer talk or communicate with each other because of disagreement/dislike of information posted on TwitFace. God help the human race if this is what the future holds for it. (Please note this a genuine prayer, not blasphemy!)

    I avoid freebies that require “likes” on TwitFace, but I shamefacedly admit I do have a false identity and email account set up in case there should be a freebie I can’t refuse and therefore need to set up a TwitFace account. I haven’t set it up yet in the 12 months since I created the identity.

  14. JonE

    This article has made me realize that I need to do what I’ve been threatening to do for months; delete my FB account. I’m of the older generation, as well, and never had any intention of joining FB until I was invited to do so, by one of my children. That was close to three years ago. Since then I’ve watched FB change everything without asking their members or partners (such as Zynga and others) what they thought and in fact when FB members started grumbling about the changes FB openly admitted, in public forum, that they didn’t care a wit; they were going to go ahead and change whatever they wanted regardless of what anyone thinks or thought about it. Leslie (first comment) eluded to the fact that FB is nothing better than Hitler and the Nazi Party; I tend to agree. I have watched user security go from being fairly good to a point now where there is little to no security. And FB has openly admitted this too. While FB users seem to find all kinds of news and crazy things to post it doesn’t seem to me that they paid too much attention to what FB has done or is doing.

    I have been hating FB for over a year now, more and more, as I’ve watched change after change make what used to be a “somewhat” good site into a pretty rotten one. It’s time to pull the plug.

    And (@ Ashraf) I don’t think for one moment that you’re profiling when you asked about Age; simply sounded like a curiosity question to me. But, lets define what older is; let’s say over 50 – I’m over 60. But, I will disagree with you about the older generation hating FB. I had no intention of becoming a member of FB because it seemed to me that it was a site for the younger generation and only registered because a “younger” family member asked me to. And after I first registered nearly three years ago I have to say that I rather enjoyed FB and since then have gained both “younger” and “older” FB Friends. There is in fact quite a few of the Older Generation on FB, which did really surprise me. I guess I would probably agree that in general the “younger” generation might tend to support FB while the older generation might not, but not because they hate it.

    My hate for FB has been forged over the last year or so as I’ve watched change after change take place and watched my and others security go down hill like a speeding bobsled. This last change is the straw that broke the Camels back.

    But, there remains to this day quite a large contingent of the older generation on FB, but after today, one less.

    Thank you, for the info, Ashraf.

  15. The Green Wizard

    I’m in the older generation, but I have a FB account just because that an easy way to communicate with a few person living in a foreign country. But only people I want them to know my account know it. And my email is not the one I use for my private business. Every body who give real information is responsible for the bad use of it.

  16. Janetb

    I’m from the ‘older set’ and see Facebook as an extreme promoter of superficiality.

    Further, I can’t imagine wanting to share my conversations with the whole world—or overhearing others’ conversations with people I don’t even know. As far as meeting people I otherwise would not have met, I do that extensively on forums—where I can find people sharing my interests having truly substantive conversations (like dottech…:-)…). If anyone wants to be in contact with me, I ask them to do it via my email….

    I have a facebook page only in case people from my past (or clients) might be trying to locate me… I try to keep my page empty and not to get non-relevant notifications. Tried deleting the facebook email address to no avail—many thanks for showing me how to hide it….:-)….!

  17. JT

    @Leslie:
    I really don’t believe Ashraf is in any way profiling here. If you’ve been here a while you know he’s very security conscious, and preaches privacy all the time. Facebook may indeed fade away, but you’ve got to admit it has more momentum, and users than any of the previous “fads” that have come and gone. Most of the younger generation has no security mindset whatsoever. They don’t mind, or fear big brother like others do. I take all of this differently especially since I’ve seen many of my friends be taken advantage of from being too trusting with there personal information etc.

  18. JT

    @Ashraf: I do consider myself to be in the younger generation as well. I use facebook, but strongly dislike it’s use of birthdays etc. I never use my actual birthday or anything else truly identifiable that could be used in any malicious way. It is a great place to make, and meet new friends that you normally never would’ve met by telephone, or going about your normal day. You have to use these services with a mindset of security. Obviously with services like Gmail that’s all but impossible since if you do any online anymore everything goes to your e-mail account with very sensitive information. I don’t trust facebook with my privacy at all, especially when one of the first things they want is your birthday. A sensitive e-mail sent to @facebook.com along with them knowing your true birth date does not make a good combination at all. Thanks for your post Ashraf. Good to see you around here again. =)

  19. Leslie

    @Ashraf:

    I was waiting for someone to ask this question, well done !!
    Firstly the only difference between this question and facebook is that you only want to know our age for profiling (yes that is what you are doing) whereas facebook wants your date of birth – a stones throw away from identity theft.

    Secondly I assume by older generation you mean someone aged over 13 (or so), because anyone else who actually have a life values their time better – and dare I say makes comments like this on dottech ;-)

    IMO facebook is yet another Gen-Y fad that will disappear like myspace, mythis, iThat and all the other “cannot live without” sites that have come and gone over the years.

    As I really do value my time, that is it from me on this topic.

  20. Kelltic

    Online applications. Online Accounts. Online Crap. Cloud computing. That’s the nature of the beast. They have their way with you and you have nothing to say about it. People complain a little and then go along. More and more, those of us without accounts are locked out of discounts, deals and even websites. You have to “Like Us On Facebook or Twitter” first.

    The internet is becoming a strange place. Big Brother is Googling you.

  21. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    I’d be interested in knowing the ages of the people that are commenting against Facebook. My guess is the younger generation support Facebook whereas the older generation hate it.

    For what it is worth, I consider myself to be of the younger generation.

  22. JT

    They want to dominate everything don’t they? I truly hate having to use facebook or gmail, and am definitely not going to use only one or the other! I’m not surprised though. Both Google, and Facebook want as much information about people as possible to use for their own reasons. I wish there was a better way to setup your own e-mail and have it be as reliable and accessible as what Gmail, and others are.

  23. Leslie

    I have never had a facebook account because as far as I am concerned they are worse than Hitler and the NAZI party. Anyone using facebook deserves the identity theft and all the other problems that will occur.

    Users have two choices – stay, accept that your life is now being controlled by others and stop the complaining – or leave having realised that facebook is simply a waste of your time. You want to get in touch with a real friend then try using the telephone !!