Monday, July 02, 2012

Facebook Email Fiasco Gets Worse And Worse

When Facebook changed the primary e-mail address of the sites 900+ million users I'm sure it didn't expect the uproar it caused. Apparently the site wasn't prepared for the secondary side effect either.

According to several reports a 'bug' has caused users to lose unknown amounts of e-mail, and those with address books synced to mobile devices unknowingly had all their synced contacted overwritten.

Facebook's first official response yesterday, sounded a bit like Apple's response to Antennagate blaming the user for not using their phones correctly. The social media giant contented that with the new changes everyone was just confused about how to look in their Facebook inboxes. It was originally explained that by default, messages from friends or friends of friends go into your Inbox. Everything else goes to your Other folder which users weren't checking.

 Now however they have changed their tune a bit and released a rather confusing explanation. 

Both CNet and The Verge have issued reports from Facebook that, while confusing, hope to clarify the situation. Facebook is now saying that the contact sync is a bug that it intends to fix. According to Facebook, when the API is working correctly, it pushes the primary e-mail address to contacts; for some devices, the API is pushing the last e-mail address associated with a users account out to their friends.
Contact synchronization on devices is performed through an API. For most devices, we've [Facebook] verified that the API is working correctly and pulling the primary email address associated with the users' Facebook account.

However, for people on certain devices, a bug meant that the device was pulling the last email address added to the account rather than the primary email address, resulting in addresses being pulled.

We are in the process of fixing this issue and it will be resolved soon. After that, those specific devices should pull the correct addresses.

So here is the confusing part. Even if Facebook fixes the API to only push the primary e-mail this won't fix anything. What it will do is mean that unless you have personally, manually changed your primary address back to whichever one originally wanted then the only "visible" email address on your profile will still be just your address. To get your primary email address back to the one you specifically want you'll need to follow our guide, "How to change your primary Facebook email address."

This entire fiasco wreaks of privacy invasion. As I stated before, what Facebook has done is essentially hijacked every users emails and forced them through their own server. This not only gives Facebook a chance to add in their own advertising, but adds a secondary way of tracking user data. Hopefully someone will make a call to action here and we'll see a privacy watch group taking a long hard look at what is going on here.

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