Facebook email change sparks user outcry

Many ask how Facebook could change email addresses without asking permission

Facebook users today expressed outrage over what they saw as a unilateral move by the company to replace the display email addresses of all users with a Facebook.com email address.

In numerous Twitter messages and posts on Facebook's community forums, users blasted the company for making the change without informing them about it beforehand.

"Who in the hell do you think you are to change my email address without my permission?" Facebook user Michael McFatridge said in a Facebook community forum. "That is a clear violation of my privacy and not what I intended when I entered my contact information."

McFatridge added that he has since changed the email addresses used for his account back to the original. "[I] would expect someone to explain to everyone why you did this without permission."

Lisa Smith, another Facebook user on the same forum, also chided the company for treating users like "errant preschoolers."

"I want to be able to decide how people contact me," Smith wrote. "I have enough email addresses and I don't need Facebook telling me I need another one."

Others posted messages expressing nearly identical sentiments and seeking information on how to revert back to their original email addresses.

The brouhaha started over the weekend when Facebook quietly changed the email address displayed on a user's Timeline page to a Facebook.com email address.

A Facebook spokeswoman today said the email change was not unannounced.

She pointed to a brief, four-sentence press release issued by Facebook in April in which the company announced its plans to update email addresses to make them consistent across its site. "Now, the address people use to get to your timeline and send you email on Facebook will be the same," the company announced at that time.

"As we announced back in April, we've been updating addresses on Facebook to make them consistent across our site," the Facebook spokesman said today via email. "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 Timeline was rolled out, Facebook users have had the ability to control what posts they want to show or hide, she said. "Today, we're extending that to other information they post, starting with the Facebook address."

As a result of the change, a user's Facebook email will appear as the default email on their timeline, she said. "But at any time they can go in and change it to be another email address," she said.

To change the email address, a user should click on the "About" link on their main Timeline page, then click on the Edit button next to the "Contact Info" box. Although users can change which email address is shown on their Timelines, the facebook email address cannot be deleted, only hidden.

Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed. His e-mail address is jvijayan@computerworld.com.

See more by Jaikumar Vijayan on Computerworld.com.

Read more about privacy in Computerworld's Privacy Topic Center.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?