June 27, 2012
Congratulations. Even if you never asked for it – even if you didn’t want it – you now have an @Facebook.com email address. Oh, and it’s your default.
Not learning from previous firestorms over opt-in versus opt-out policies, Facebook has decided that you really want all email to go to [email protected] in all circumstances, so they’ve made the change for you. To be clear, this is indeed a safety and security issue, and Facebook’s idea is very good, but their implementation is horrifically flawed and getting people pretty steamed up.
What happened is that Facebook as changed your default email address attached to your profile to [email protected] This means that if anyone uses Facebook to find and use your email – something many business users want to happen – they will not get your real e-mail address, but rather a facebook.com pass-through address. You’ll get your mail, but the person sending it won’t get the correct e-mail address.
Problematic on many levels, the biggest issue here is that Facebook didn’t tell anyone or ask permission. They simply made the change for all Facebook users. So if you wanted visitors and friends to see and use your real email address, that won’t happen. For many users, this is a very good thing, as it promotes privacy and stops web crawlers from harvesting your address for spam. For business users who *want* to have customers reach out to them, this is a big problem. For example, even though not public on Facebook, I have a special email address that I use for site/blog visitors to contact me. I want people to use that email address (which you can find in the sidebar of this blog) and specifically *not* to use any other one they may have seen or heard.
Luckily, you can turn this new “feature” off pretty easily. Simply log into Facebook, and click the small down arrow in the upper-right corner near the word Home.
Then click on Account Settings, and then click “Edit” in the section for your email addresses. Make your preferred address the default, and then either ignore or delete the new @facebook.com email address you find there.
I do applaud Facebook for taking the initiative to offer more anonymity and security for their users. I also will take them to task for yet again not making the default for a new setting “off” instead of forcing it on every user across the board. Much like any other mandatory Facebook “feature upgrade” they have missed the mark, and caused more users to avoid or overcome this feature instead of using it where it is a best fit.
Maybe next time…