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Facebook Angers Users With e-mail System Change

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Facebook updates email system with no prior notice to members – Image Courtesy Facebook

You have to hand it to Facebook. Its main business model, its main promotions model and its main content model all involve one key strategy:to put itself in the center of communications between individuals and their friends and spheres of influence. That is all Facebook is really trying to do. Whether it is its advertising strategy, content management strategy or viralization, everything else flows from that middle man model. In other words, if it is able to control and get in the center of communications between an individual and the rest of that person’s personal world, Facebook gains to win. That is why it is not surprising when Facebook adopted the new timeline model because it is easier for it to present in a graphical way its positioning between the person’s updates, chronology and interactions with other users. While there was some grumbling with the timeline format, it otherwise went down quite well. This cannot be said with Facebook’s recent change in terms of users’ communications.

Recently, Facebook has publicized the automatic @facebook.com e-mail address that it assigns to users as a default. When people are looking at your profile, they would see your e-mail address as your name or user name @facebook.com. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, this is causing quite a bit of drama because if somebody wants to e-mail you, it may go to your Facebook e-mail address, and the problem is many people do not use this e-mail address. Also, the way the change was introduced, there was no major announcement and there was no awareness raising campaign. They just did it and tried to patch things up and apologize later.

This has happened several times with Facebook. It appears to be, according to many critics, their stock and trade where they would screw up at least in the eyes of some critics and then apologize later. However, to be fair to Facebook, once people get used to these many changes, things quiet down after a while. As for the @facebook.com e-mail profile publishing, there is an easy way you can handle this. You can block the @facebook.com e-mail address from appearing on your profile just by editing your contact info. You can either choose to have it show up on your timeline or you can choose to have it hidden from your timeline. By default, the setting is to have it show up on your timeline. All you need to do is go into your contact info section of your user settings and hide it from your timeline. The biggest issue here is that people might send you e-mail to an e-mail address that you do not really use.

The good news is that this change has not been applied to all of Facebook’s 900 million users just yet. Hopefully, the recent uproar regarding this change would force Facebook to be more public about the change. The issue here is not so much Facebook making changes; it is the advance notice (or lack thereof) it gives to people regarding these changes. As we have mentioned earlier, it has already been struggling with maintaining its user growth momentum in high advertiser value countries and this might yet shape up to be another public relations black eye for the social networking company.