Checked your Facebook profile lately? Facebook removed your email account and swapped in an @Facebook.com email account. Here’s how to quickly fix it:
- Click “About” on your profile and scroll down to your email address. Click “Edit” to change them.
- Click on the circle next to your Facebook email address and change its setting to “Hidden From Timeline”.
- Click on the circle next to your other email addresses and change their settings to “Shown On Timeline”.
- Click the Save button at the bottom of the Edit popup (Don’t forget this step).
I’m usually a big fan of Facebook and a defender of most of their unilateral actions. I can always rationalize it, “Hey guys, this is really in the best interests of everyone, you just don’t know it yet,” like a good parent would do or an interested developer (yeah, programmers are invested in their apps and can treat them like their kids). This move though? Seems like the corporate types called the shots on this and not the Zuckerberg brain trust.
Apparently this silent email migration has been going on since April.
Facebook released its own email two years ago with some fanfare and then it was promptly forgotten. It was also a terrible implementation and nowhere close to the GMail killer people thought it would be. Every email/message is listed under one thread (anti-Gmail), Facebook tends to keep things walled off (unlike Google) which translates to poor data portability, and it’s the second most blocked site by employers so checking email at work is unlikely (no one’s going to block Google.com).
I understand where Facebook is coming from (cue rationalization). They want you to spend more of your time on the social network and to make it, as much as possible, the only site you visit on the web. By monopolizing your time, their advertising dollars will come in much, much faster. Why go to Flickr or Picasa if your friends post all their photos on Facebook? Who needs Twitter when you have Facebook posts? And … Why bother with multiple separate email accounts if Facebook can being your single point of reading? Well sure, if you do it well that’s great.
Unfortunately, they’re pushing a half-baked product and forcing it on people rather than making it an opt-in (obviously, since the voluntary method didn’t work). That’s not a recipe for success. If they have made great strides in the product and had something to tout, that would be a completely different story. On the other hand, look at Google’s Gmail — it was engineered to almost perfection and people flock to it because they want to.
In light of their public IPO recently, things like corporate revenue, quarterly profits, and the bottom-line are becoming more important. In this case, there is a tradeoff between revenue and user satisfaction; when the latter starts to dip, so will the former. Unfortunately, what Facebook just did is more likely to push people away rather than pull them in. I support many of Facebook’s decisions but, to date, this seems like the least planned and most poorly executed move they’ve done.