Backlash over Facebook email switch
Facebook has once again come under fire regarding its privacy issues, as it forces users into accepting an @facebook.com email address.
The problems began over the weekend, when Facebook changed email addresses displayed on user’s Timelines to a facebook.com email address. Indignant users flooded forums complaining about this perceived intrusion of privacy and the assumption that they wanted people who they are not ‘friends’ with on the site to be able to contact them.
The change means that anyone can send an email to your Facebook email account, which will show up in your Facebook messages. However, this is not far from the current setup, where Facebook users who you are not ‘friends’ with can contact you using this method, unless they are specifically blocked from your page.
A Facebook spokeswoman today said that the change was not unannounced, and pointed to a short press release which was issued back in April. The release, dated 12th April 2012, says: “Starting today, we’re updating addresses on Facebook to make them consistent across our site. Now, the address people use to get to your timeline and send you email on Facebook will be the same. Updated addresses will be rolled out over the next few weeks.”
The spokeswoman was keen to reassure users “at any time they can go in and change it to be another email address”. To do this, you click the “About” link on your main Timeline page, then click the “Edit” button which is next to the “Contact Info” box. Although users are able to change which email address is displayed on their page, the email cannot be deleted, but can be hidden.
Despite anger from users, Facebook’s policy of change has long involved a short and quiet trial run before rolling the feature out across every user’s page. The main concern about Facebook email addresses appears to be privacy and the lack of communication from Facebook about these changes. Following a series of issues regarding advertising and several changes in the interface of pages, Facebook really should be wary of upsetting users. Twitter is only a click away…