Now Facebook tries to ‘hijack’ users’ email addresses by forcing them to submit to own service
PUBLISHED: 01:10 GMT, 26 June 2012 | UPDATED: 23:11 GMT, 26 June 2012
Facebook is trying to force its 900million users to switch to its own email service.
It is removing the personal email address displayed on an individual user’s profile pages and replacing it with a @facebook.com address – even if the member never uses it.
The social networking site’s email service was launched two years ago but has failed to take off, possibly because most people do not like having multiple mail accounts.
Facebook users – who were not consulted about the move – responded with anger.
Blogger Gervase Markham, one of the first to notice the change, said it was a form of computer hacking. ‘What on earth do they think they are playing at?’ he said.
On Twitter, Facebook was branded ‘sneaky’ while CNN technology expert Julianne Pepitone claimed it was an attempt to ‘hijack your email address’.
HOW TO CHANGE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS BACK
1. Go into the ‘About’ section of your profile
2. Where the email address is displayed, click ‘Edit’
3. Click on the circle along from the @facebook.com address
4. Change setting to ‘hidden from timeline’
5. Click on circle next to other email address and choose ‘shown on timeline’
6. Hit save at the bottom of the edit box
But Anthony Mullen, an analyst at Forrester Research, said: ‘This is a direction Facebook needs to move in. Facebook want to usurp existing email identities with their own to help drive up traffic to its site and lock users into its service. The problem is the lack of transparency – it has acted without asking for members’ permission first.’
The US company is under pressure to lift its revenues following a stock market flotation. Because emails sent to the @facebook address will appear on the site’s pages it will potentially boost page views and boost advertising sales.
The email changes – which apply only to users with the Timeline layout – are an attempt to collapse a number of electronic methods of communication into one.
If somebody sends a user an email it goes into the ‘messages’ folder on their Facebook page. It is possible to turn off the email service.
A spokesman said: ‘We are providing every user with his or her own Facebook email address because we find that many users find it useful to connect with each other, but using the Facebook email is completely up to you.’
It is not the first time Facebook has pulled a ‘Big Brother’ move on social network users.
Anyone who uses Facebook is already turning over reams of sensitive personal information to large companies every day.
There has been much criticism of Facebook’s changeover to the Timeline profile – drawing complaints that it makes past activity more easily accessible.
The social network also launched a new feature this week which uses the GPS signal in cell phones to help you find friends – and potential new friends – nearby.
The ‘Friendshake’ feature will allow you to make friends with people who are close by. The time-saving feature means that, if you meet a group of new people, you can all use this for one-touch friendship, rather than manually finding out each person’s name and separately adding them.
Some users may find this a boon to easily connect with new acquaintances, while others may see this as an invasion of privacy and way for unwanted people to get your attention.
However, the feature is currently one you have to manually turn on, by visiting http://www.fb.com/ffn – the last letters are an acronym for Find Friends Nearby.
When you enter the URL into your mobile browser, Facebook will provide a list of others who have visited the same page recently in the same area. A quick click will then add you as friends.
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