Fixing Facebook’s Sneaky Email Switch

| TMO Quick Tip

Facebook recently began changing the default email address users associated with their account to a facebook.com address without so much as a warning. Changing your contact address back to what you want takes a few steps, but unfortunately doesn’t include a way to block Facebook from pulling the same move again.

To change the email address your Facebook friends see back to what you prefer instead of the @facebook.com address the online social network slipped into your profile, do this:

  • Login to your Facebook account and click About. You can find that below your profile picture on your timeline page.

Facebook's About linkClick About to see the email address Facebook is showing your friends

  • Look for the Contact Info block and click Edit.

Editing the email address your friends seeClick Edit to manage the email addresses your friends see

  • You can’t remove your @facebook.com email address, so instead click the privacy pop-up (look for the nondescript circle icon to the right of your Facebook email address) that currently is set to Show on Timeline and select Hidden from Timeline.

The tiny circle icon reveals the setting for showing or hiding email addressesThe tiny circle icon reveals the setting for showing or hiding email addresses

  • Assuming you don’t want anyone to ever see your facebook.com email address, you can hide it by clicking the padlock icon and choosing Only Me.
  • Click the circle icon next to the email addresses you want visible and choose Show on Timeline — and you aren’t forced to make any of your email addresses visible.
  • Once you’re happy with your email settings, click Save.

Users that have a Facebook URL, like http://www.facebook.com/jeffgamet as an example, have a Facebook email address that’s at least recognizable. In my case, that’s jeffgamet@facebook.com — an address that I never check, so don’t feel singled out if you try to contact me there and I never reply.

If you never set up a vanity URL for your account, however, the auto-assigned email address you get is just a string of unfriendly looking numbers.

It’s no secret that Facebook wants to be as deeply entrenched in its user’s lives as possible, but pushing subscribers into using a facebook.com email address without even an alert that the change was being made on their behalf is, well… just so Facebook.

Comments

geoduck

without even an alert that the change was being made on their behalf is, well? just so Facebook.

Had an account until about a year ago.
Got tired of them pulling this sort of cr@p so I deleted it.
I’ve been thinking of creating a new account just for sites that require FB to comment. No data but just to let me log into these places.
But they keep pulling this sort of thing.

Lee Dronick

Geoduck,  I have an account under my real name, but I also have one under a nom de plume.

geoduck

I have an account under my real name, but I also have one under a nom de plume.

It brings up a fairly interesting philosophical question. If a company is doing something you don’t like, is it better to work around it so they can’t engage in this behavior, or should one refuse to do business with the company until they stop doing it?

In this case I don’t like FaceBook’s cavalier attitude toward privacy and personal data and their arrogant attitude toward changes. Should I, as you have, set up an anonymous account so there’s no data for them to mine and expose, or should I not have an account? The former means none of my data is exposed but FaceBook still gets paid by unsuspecting advertisers who believe there is something worth paying for. The latter means that FaceBook does not get paid but I have no access to some features on the web.

It’s a tough call.

iVoid

Only reason I have a facebook account is so I can get the extra levels in Angry Birds. smile

Lee Dronick

In all honesty I set up the nom de plume account primarily as a way to test out settings and see how they look using my actual name account. There are only a few websites on which I comment under any name or alias

As to the ethics of that. I have no feelings of guilt, I see their ads no matter which account I use.

aardman

As I always said, Facebook’s actions are not guided by what is right or wrong but by what they can and cannot get away with.  Bastards. . .

Lee Dronick

Poking around some of my friend’s profiles it looks to me that the sneaky addresses are

firstname.lastname@facebook.com

but may be

firstname.lastname.123@facebook.com with a three digits suffix for the John Smiths of the world and others with a common name.

I wonder how long it will be until the spam feeding frenzy begins. Even if you hide your address can some figure it out by your screen name? My account address is a “throw away” and should it get spammed up I can just bottom blow it and create a new one.

Also I am concerned that if people start using the @facebook address for all of their email correspondence then will Facebook start mining that.

geoduck

I wonder how long it will be until the spam feeding frenzy begins.

I suspect it’s already started.

Even if you hide your address can some figure it out by your screen name?

Prpbably. It costs the spammers nothing to write a bot that can make educated guesses. If only one in a thousand is right they concider it a success.

I am concerned that if people start using the @facebook address for all of their email correspondence then will Facebook start mining that.

I’d guess yes. But then I suspect that Google already does that with GMail and everything on GoogleDocs.

brett_x

So, I went to look at the settings.. but the more I think about it, I’m not so sure this is a bad thing. I’ve always been a little cautious when using my own real email address.. so isn’t this is like having a filter for Facebook spam? I mean.. if my own address is not published, when a real friend of mine sends something to that address, I can always just give them my regular one, right?
I’m almost as skeptical as other people posting here about FB’s intentions. But I don’t see a real downside to keeping the settings as they are now.

Lee Dronick

I’ve always been a little cautious when using my own real email address

I don’t use my real email address at Facebook, nor here for that matter, I use a throwaway address. Maybe it is much ado about nothing, but it was the way that it was done.

rwahrens

I’ve got more than one address associated with my Facebook account, and when I look at my Contacts info, all of them are still there.  This seems to be just one more.

Like brett_x noted, if someone wants to spam me at the Facebook account, I’ll just remove it.  No big deal.

Taiyo

Ha, as of now, FB won’t let me edit any Contact info ... says something like, “Something went wrong. We’re working on getting this fixed as soon as we can. You may be able to try again.” Amazing, eh? Well, perhaps not as it is FB after all.

Lee Dronick

Ha, as of now, FB won?t let me edit any Contact info ... says something like, ?Something went wrong. We?re working on getting this fixed as soon as we can. You may be able to try again.? Amazing, eh? Well, perhaps not as it is FB after all.

See this news segment

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