Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Facebook email: Now an only an alias with an opt-out option

Facebook tried to get into competition with Google by introducing its notorious username associated email addresses that integrated all email sent to them with your facebook inbox... that seems to have been a failed venture.

Although Facebook still displays the "Facebook Email" as the default email address on the profiles of all new accounts as "username@facebook.com", but it can be hidden in the "contact info" section. Furthermore, this email address no more integrates all the incoming email into your Facebook inbox. Rather it forwards the email to the user's primary email address. Essentially it is now only acting as an email alias / forwarding address and is no more an email service per se.

I guess Facebook also tried to get some good will from the annoyed users so now you can also go to Facebook settings > General > Email and uncheck "Use your Facebook email: username@facebook.com" if you don't want email being sent to your Facebook address to be forwarded to you. This could be useful as it would prevent those who don't know you from contacting you at all and hence decrease spam or other unwanted email.

This is what Facebook had to say:

Just a reminder, any emails sent to your Facebook email address (username@facebook.com) will now be forwarded to this email address (primaryaddress@domain.com). You won't be able to view these emails on Facebook anymore.
If you reply, it will come from this email address, even though the original email was sent to your Facebook email address.
To update your primary email address or stop using your Facebook email address, visit your Settings.

This is an opt-out option though. The side effect of silently retiring the "all-in-one" inbox for sms, email and social network is that most unsuspecting users can now be contacted at their username@facebook.com email addresses and they would receive the email at the primary email address they signed up with. And while with the Facebook inbox, it would have been subtle and messages would have gone to the "other" folder, now the primary inboxes of any one who has not manually intervened and disabled the Facebook alias are wide open to everyone for dropping in messages via this address.

This also means that you can not send emails using your Facebook email address anymore. There's a workaround for that though. You can add it to Gmail or Hotmail as a send only address and the permission request to send email from the address would be redirected back to your primary address where you can allow it and then use it as an alias in Gmail / Hotmail to send emails as username@facebook.com. Although this will allow you send emails from your Facebook email, but just in case some one decides to stuff the beans up their nose, this does not truly hide your primary email address why replying. Gmail and Hotmail tend to show "on behalf of" primaryaddress@domain.com in details, and even when they don't... any one poking into headers can easily find out who the original email sender was since the primary Gmail or Hotmail address is always mentioned in the headers even when using alias.

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