The Dark Legacy Of Addresses

Facebook may be killing off its email address feature, but their uselessness will live on in iOS contact books around the world. You see, right before iOS 6 and its Facebook contact sync feature came out, Facebook forcibly hid the real email addresses everyone shared with their friends. It only left the addresses it assigned everyone visible, so that’s what got synced by iOS 6.

At the time in June 2012 I called this “poppycock” and implored Facebook to undo the visibility change it made without permission. Allowing users to choose to share their address that routed to their Facebook Messages Inbox would have been fine. If Facebook wanted to compete to be your email address, though, it should have done it on a level playing field.

But to banish email addresses provided by its competitors like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft with hardly any notice was dishonest. One source even told me that Apple may have pressured Facebook to hide Gmail addresses as part of the deal to get baked into iOS 6.

No matter the reason, it was a treacherous move.

And it bombed. No one used the email addresses. Facebook thought it should be where you read personal emails. It created an integrated communication system designed to combine instant chat, asynchronous messages, and email. Turns out that last part was just too different to be corralled.

So today the company began digging a grave for email addresses. In a statement to TechCrunch, the company said: “We’re making this change because most people haven’t been using their Facebook email address, and we can focus on improving our mobile messaging experience for everyone.” Anyone who did use them will get messages sent to their Facebook addresses forwarded to their primary email account instead of their Facebook Messages inbox.

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