The Great Facebook Email Experiment Is Over
Facebook is retiring its email address system, the company announced on Monday.
From now on, any emails sent to a users @facebook.com email address — which all Facebook users could claim upon signing up for the social network — will now be automatically forwarded to the default personal email address used to sign up for the site.
So if you’ve signed up using the email “email@example.com” and also had a “firstname.lastname@example.org” address, all email sent to the latter will be forwarded to the former address.
The reason? Simple — no one was using their Facebook email addresses.
“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,” a Facebook spokesperson told Re/code.
Facebook launched its email address idea in 2010, back when it was Mark Zuckerberg’s conception of the “modern messaging system.” As it was first conceived, Facebook Messages subsumed email, text messages and chat on Facebook — all of those communications would be threaded into one single communication strand, dubbed Facebook Messenger.
But as it turns out, people seem to be sidestepping the idea of email via Facebook entirely, and as a result the company will emphasize mobile messages in the future.
It’s not for lack of trying to make it work. Two years ago, Facebook gave users a nudge toward using their Facebook.com email addresses by switching the default settings and displaying those addresses on users’ pages without letting them know beforehand. It did not go over well.
So this is likely a smart idea, considering Facebook Messenger is the standalone app that has taken off the most for the social network. And considering Facebook just spent $19 billion acquiring WhatsApp, it’s pretty obvious that Facebook is putting quite a bit of its efforts behind messaging in general.
Of note: If you turn off the auto-forwarding option for your Facebook email address, you won’t receive anything, and senders will get a bounce-back notification message.
But it’s not like that really matters — no one was using your Facebook.com email address anyway.