Facebook Email Backlash

Author: Jason Shaw
Published: June 26, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Facebook is facing a gathering storm and backlash from its users, after replacing users' email addresses in their contacts with those provided by Facebook itself.

The company announced the plans back in April, with little fanfare or media attention. Now that the change has come, Facebook has been viewed as having provided no proper warning, and the change has sparked consternation, anger and resentment from users.

Many see this is a cynical attempt by Facebook to drive people to use its Facebook.com email system, driving more traffic to the firm's pages (and unleashing more advertising revenue).

Targeting adverts based upon your individual email content has already been factored into the system, although its unclear how far or personal this snooping on private emails will go. Many believe, however, that as Facebook becomes ever more commercial in its operation, nothing you load up or send on the social network will be private or secure.

Facebook says, “We are providing every Facebook 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 Facebook email is completely up to you”

The way the system seems to work, is that emails sent to your Facebook.com address appear alongside posts sent via the social network's internal message system. Officially, this is said to be great for users by allowing them to get both types of communication from (and shown in) the same place. In practice it’s a dangerous area, where private communications could very easily become public.

Anthony Mullen, a senior media analyst told the BBC on their website that this move “reeks of the same move Google did with its Buzz product, when it automatically opted people in and then users recoiled against the action.” Indeed, where is Google Buzz these days?

What basically seems to be happening, is that Facebook is effectively taking out your email address from your profile, wiping out part of your identity and replacing it with their own. On the surface it seems to be a brazen attempt to hijack your ‘non’ Facebook computer time, making it harder for you to ever leave the network, locking you in to their services, their pages and thus ensuring more advertising revenue for themselves.

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Article Author: Jason Shaw

Jason is a freelance writer, author and blogger from Sussex, England. He has been a human and gay rights commentator and activist for a number of years and is passionate about equality. He writes for various websites and journals both in the UK and Worldwide. …

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