Do you remember a couple of years ago when Facebook announced its own email service? No? Everybody got their own personalized email address, and all messages got sent to your inbox. Still nothing? Well that’s probably because it kind of a dumb idea.
Apparently the idea wasn’t dumb enough for Facebook to disable the feature. They have so much faith in their idea, that they’re going to push it on everybody else. Over the weekend, many Facebook users opened up profiles to discover that something was different in the contact info. Many racked their brains trying to remember when they changed their email addresses, but besides the select few with amnesia, none could recall.
Then the anger set in because we all realized that Facebook had changed all of our contact info. Without our permission, and without known notice.
I feel violated somehow.
Facebook has come under fire in the past for their lax privacy controls, but this goes beyond what most people are used to, and yes, that even goes for the people that share each little detail in their status updates. According to an Associated Press article, the company explained the reasoning behind the change was “because we find that many users find it useful to connect with each other, but using the Facebook email is completely up to you.”
Over the weekend, Facebook had rolled out a new feature that allows users to change contact information directly from the timeline, and this was part of the change. In addition, users can reset their contact information.
The change technically was announced back in April, when Facebook announced they were updating addresses to make them consistent across the site.
Despite the fact that this was a temporary change, people took to the tubes to rally in anger against Facebook. Videos and tutorials popped up all over Youtube, showing users how to reset their email address, and news feeds became littered with complaints.
Facebook has often wanted its users to strictly use the social networking site for most of their Internet-based needs. It already has a chat client, private messaging, gaming, a marketplace, and dozens of other features. The email is just another step in making Facebook the hub of the Internet.
Sadly, Facebook seems to have that kind of power with or without every feature available.
There is a history here of the company rolling out unannounced changes, much to the chagrin of users. To this day, some refuse to switch over to the Timeline (I had no choice in the matter). Each time, a multitude of users claim to be switching social networks or deactivating Facebook. Remember when Google+ was a thing? That scared Facebook a bit, but they knew we would all be back. We always come back.
Facebook also came under fire this week when their feature Find Friends Nearby was attracting attention for all of the wrong reasons. Adding to the never-ending list of privacy scandals, the feature was designed to give the user the ability to friend somebody in the vicinity, and some people found that a bit too creepy for a website that basically caters to stalkers initially.
Not too long after the news broke, Facebook quietly pulled the app from its mobile devices.
Facebook eventually revealed that the feature was only in the beta phase and was not meant to be released to the public, but only be available to a few engineers. “Nothing more to say on this for now, but we’ll communicate to everyone when there is something to say,” said Facebook according to Wired.
Regardless of what Facebook does to upset users and incite critics, Zuckerberg and company will continue to make changes to their system, and sometimes they’ll do it without telling you first. Why? Because they can. It’s their company, and you’ll continue to give them business.