You may remember when Google automatically created a Google Buzz account for everyone with a Google account — there was a huge uproar because of the privacy issues as well as forcing a service on people who didn’t necessarily want it. You may not remember it, because Buzz soon died a slow, painful death. Facebook is following in Google’s dunderheaded footsteps and has replaced your public e-mail address with a facebook.com e-mail address.
You’ve actually had a Facebook e-mail for a long time (since 2010) something you’re possibly more likely to realize if you’ve taken
advantage of the ability to change your Facebook address to a username you like rather than the auto-generated numbers. This isn’t an e-mail account proper, it just gives people the ability to send you a Facebook message through their e-mail address — it behaves exactly the same as if they just sent you a message through Facebook without the address.
The problem with this, aside from Facebook changing settings without telling anyone, is that Facebook messaging is not e-mail at all. Messages are sorted by who is sending them to you, not by e-mailsubject line; most companies block Facebook accounts, making it impossible to access your messages; messages from people who aren’t your friend get sent to the “Other” inbox, which doesn’t alert you to new messages; Facebook messages cannot get sent to programs like Outlook or Mail, meaning that you have to be online and on Facebook to be able to read them. In short, Facebook is not good at e-mail.
And people are outraged that the default has been changed without Facebook asking the users first. Users in general are asking if the site is just making itself less customer-friendly and undermining its position as the most important social media site. Facebook has a history of adding features and ignoring user demands and this appears to be just another on the list of supposed missteps they have made.
On the other hand, if people are looking you up on Facebook, is providing them with your Facebook e-mail address that troublesome? I don’t really understand the outrage here. People contact you through Facebook if they’re looking at your Facebook profile. I rarely, if ever, get an e-mail to my public e-mail address from people who found it through Facebook; most people just message you on Facebook when they find you. I can’t see that actual impact of this change other than the general overreaction users have whenever anything changes. Most importantly you can change it back if you are bothered by it — just go to your “About” page and edit your “Contact” information.