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Facebook Changes Users’ E-mail Addresses to Promote In-House E-mail Service

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

It seems that every time Facebook makes some sort of change to their website, there’s a huge backlash from the public. This time, the change involves the company’s E-mail service…wait, Facebook has an E-mail service?

In what seems to be a blatant attempt to get people to use their little used in-house E-mail service, Facebook has replaced all of its users’ E-mail addresses with an “@facebook.com” E-mail address. To no one’s surprise, Facebook told no one about the change, which led to yet another public outcry against the social networking giant.

Previously, users may have displayed their personal yahoo.com or gmail.com address to let people know how to contact them outside of Facebook. Now, Facebook has hidden those addresses and put a Facebook email listing in its place.

The changes raised users’ suspicions. By hiding other email addresses Facebook can keep its already-captive audience even more captive. Sending an email to a Facebook.com address will land the email in the messages section of a user’s Facebook profile. The more people use Facebook to communicate, the more the company can target ads based on the conversations they have on its platform — just as Google targets ads to Gmail users based on text in their emails.

“They’ve got an email service that no one is using,” said Forrester analyst Nate Elliott. Getting people to send emails to and from Facebook deepens people’s connection to the site, he added. “This is a way of encouraging use — it’s just a rather crude way.”

Do you ever get the feeling that Facebook could care less about its users? They’re always implementing these sorts of changes without letting the users know, much less getting their input on it. And yet, while Facebook users may complain and whine and moan about it, I doubt anyone’s going to do anything about it. They’ll just sit back and accept it, like they do with all the changes Facebook makes. Maybe that’s part of the problem right there…

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