In case you've missed the latest headlines, CNET's Violet Blue reported that Facebook changed public email addresses to @facebook.com email addresses. The early results have been devastating: Users are missing important email messages and have experienced significant address book changes on mobile devices.
It's not the smartest idea to change a primary email address on behalf of a user. The user clearly knows best when it comes to primary contact information. Forcing the Facebook email system on everyone overrides the user's best judgement in identifying this.
The interesting part about Facebook's response to this huge debacle was that initially, the social network attributed this to user error (quotes via CNET):
Regarding the "email loss" this may actually just be confusion around the Messages Inbox: By default, messages from friends or friends of friends go into your Inbox. Everything else goes to your Other folder.
(If you click on Messages in your left hand navigation menu, you'll see below it an Other folder that drops down.) That is likely where the messages are being sent from other people's emails. Even if that person is friends with them on Facebook, if the friend doesn't have that email on their Facebook account, the message could end up in the Other folder.
The next week, they clarified that due to a privacy setting, incoming messages may bounce and be flagged by a spam filter:
If someone sends you an email to your @facebook.com email address and it's from an address associated with a Facebook friend or friend of friend's accounts, it will go into the inbox. If it's from an address not associated with a friend or friend of friend's Facebook account, it will go into your other folder.
However, if you've specified in privacy settings that you only want to receive messages from friends or friend of friends, then the message will bounce.
We've noticed that in a very limited number of cases, the bounce e-mail back to the original sender may not be delivered because it may get intercepted by spam filters.
We are working to make sure that e-mail senders consistently receive bounce messages.'
Poor company decisionmaking aside, the initial move by Facebook to change the primary email address of users has clearly spiraled out of control. But do users even understand where to go to find incoming messages?
Here's a Verify heatmap of where users believe they should go to read their Facebook email:
As you can see, there was split attention between the 'Messages' tab in the sidebar, the 'Other' tab underneath it and the messages icon in the top nav.
The trickiest thing is that there is technically no correct answer to this question from this screenshot alone. The 'Messages' tab loops in messages/email sent from first and second-degree connections. The 'Other' tab loops in all other incoming messages, except the ones marked as spam by Facebook's (questionable) filters. Facebook claims to be working on ensuring that bounce messages are received by users, but it appears there is no action currently in place.
It's disappointing that Facebook made all of these changes in an attempt to make their Facebook email service more relevant. While Facebook email is still a work-in-progress, it's doubtful the sentiment would be any different even if the service actually worked correctly.
And finally, if you're wondering how to change your public Facebook email address back to what it was, Gizmodo had a fine write-up from last week.
What's your take on this situation?