Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Is Facebook Trying to Hijack Your Email Address?

When you sign up for Facebook you did so with an email address so you could be notified of any action on your profile.  So far so good.  Now a while back Facebook launched email addresses, so people could use a Facebook email account.
The thing is, Facebook signed you up for an account even if you didn't want one.  All of which was harmless enough as you could safely ignore it.  Now though CNN are reporting that Facebook have changed the default email address in your profile to this email account rather than the one you signed up to Facebook with.
Facebook said that the change has been gradually rolled out over the last few weeks, but that many users were unaware of the change until coverage emerged about the changes this week.
The reaction has, to say the least, not been favorable, with many taking to blogs and Twitter to decry Facebook for this abuse of its position.  What's alarming is that Facebook seemingly did not anticipate this hostile reaction to the change.
"We basically defaulted to show your Facebook address as we rolled this out, just to keep it consistent for everyone," said Meredith Chin, Facebook's manager of product communications.
The change hasn't hit all accounts yet, but it will roll out eventually to all of Facebook's 900 million users, Chin confirmed.
It's worth adding of course that users can revert back to their actual email addresses from within their profile settings but if users start getting emails to an account they didn't know existed it could trigger quite a backlash against the company.
This is especially so as it joins a growing line of feature changes that Facebook have not communicated well to users.
When they launched their email service in 2010 it was tagged as a way to integrate conversations across multiple communication channels.  It seems that Facebook have some big lessons to learn on effective communication before trying to push changes onto the rest of us.

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