Facebook Slyly Changes Contact Emails, Angers Users

Facebook is famous for tweaking features and settings unannounced, and this weekend the social networking giant was at it again. Here's what to look for and how to change it.

In typical Facebook fashion, the social network again angered its users when it discreetly made a change in profile information.

Over the weekend, Gervase Markham, author of the blog Hacking for Christ, noticed that Facebook had changed the displayed email address to his @facebook.com one. The change came without his permission and without any notifications, of course.

"In other words, Facebook silently inserted themselves into the path of formerlydirect unencrypted communications from people who want to email me," Markham wrote. "In other contexts, this is known as a Man In The Middle (MITM) attack."

Not sure if this has affected you? Navigate to your Facebook timeline, then click the "About" link below your profile picture and information. Scroll down to the "Contact Info" section and see which email address is listed. If it's your @facebook.com email address—and that's not the one displayed—just click "Edit" and make the necessary changes.

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When Facebook changed the email address, any messages you received in the last few days have been routed to the Facebook Messages inbox, rather than to the email address you previously designated. If you were expecting any correspondences, check that folder, which is located on the right-side navigation.

Here's what a Facebook spokesperson told Reuters:

As we announced back in April, we’ve been updating addresses on Facebook to make them consistent across our site.

In addition to everyone receiving an address, we’re also rolling out a new setting that gives people the choice to decide which addresses they want to show on their timelines.

Ever since the launch of timeline, people have had the ability to control what posts they want to show or hide on their own timelines, and today we’re extending that to other information they post, starting with the Facebook address.

We all know Facebook is going to make changes to the interface, features and design when it wants. And, generally, users ultimately accept it. But as a newly public company with slumping stock, these are exactly the types of actions that should be communicated to users.

We get it: Facebook wants to own email. Back in November 2010, CEO Mark Zuckerberg prefaced the unveiling of its new messaging system with an anecdote about how high school students don't use email because it's "too slow."

A year-and-a-half later, it's clear that Facebook users aren’t using its messaging system as originally intended or in the capacity the social network expected. Forcing it upon everyone, without notice or explanation, isn't the right thing to do nor is it a step toward endearing its already wary users.

Did Facebook change your email address? Let us know in your poll below.

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