As if everyone doesn’t have enough email addresses already, Facebook has decided that its 9 million users could use one more. As a new addition to Facebook Timeline, the website has leveled the playing field by giving each user a personal one at facebook.com, without telling its users. Not everyone has noticed the email address change yet, but those who have noticed are not very pleased. The way the new email works is frustrating for some because it is seen as yet another invasion of privacy by Facebook users. Every user’s email has been changed to firstname.lastname@example.org and this is displayed publicly on the user’s Timeline profile, even if the user’s settings said not to display any email addresses. Any address that the user already had on file with Facebook is not visible anymore and the new facebook.com email address is set as the default address. Also, any emails sent to the new facebook.com address will appear to the user as messages the same way that Facebook Chat messages do.
It’s easy to see why some people are so upset over these new changes. For one, Facebook now gets access to emails that normally would have been sent to a different address and therefore not visible to Facebook. In addition to that, people that did not want an email address on their profile now have one there. After previously coming under fire for changing user’s privacy settings without their permission, Facebook is claiming this email change is not a privacy issue, it’s a visibility issue, and that its users shouldn’t be upset. The new email settings can be fixed easily, however, by changing the contact settings. The new facebook.com email is set as “Show on Timeline” and any other emails are set as “Hide on Timeline.” To fix the problem, just switch the two, or leave them both as hidden.
On the bright side, Facebook has made another change to the site that has been received positively by many people. Relationship statuses can be a big deal, especially since some people don’t consider a relationship official until it’s “Facebook official”. This was a problem for members of the LGBT community since the icons displayed with relationship statuses were only applicable to heterosexual couples. In addition to adding “In a domestic partnership with” and “In a civil union with” to its status options, Facebook has recently updated the icons to show same sex couples. The change has many people finally updating their relationship statuses to show that Facebook recognizes gay marriage, even if all 50 states do not.
While some Facebook changes are for the better and some we would rather do without, everyone should be in the know when it comes to their Facebook profile. A lot of damage can be done online, so it is important to always stay up-to-date with what websites are doing with your personal information.