Facebook has just silently imposed its own email service on its 900 million plus users, switching the default contact address to an @facebook.com alternative. The addresses use the vanity URL introduced for profiles, so if your personal Facebook URL is facebook.com/examplename then your email address will now read firstname.lastname@example.org.
Users who had not set up a vanity URL have been defaulted to the series of numbers that Facebook assigned to their profile when they signed up for the service. There has been no word of the switch on the official Facebook blog and many users are complaining that they were not notified of the change.
The only evidence to suggest that this policy was being introduced is an “Addresses on Facebook” news item posted in April on the Facebook Newsroom website. According to NPR, a Facebook spokesperson cited this source when questioned as to why users were not notified.
The change does not affect your “primary” email address, which is the email account Facebook uses to contact you directly. However the change is reflected publicly, meaning your Facebook friends will no longer see your old address, and instead will email the @facebook.com address instead.
If you never use your Facebook email account and would like to change back to your previous email address then you can do so from your profile, simply click Edit in the Contact Information field, click the circle next to the @facebook.com email address and select Hidden From Profile, as per the screenshot below.
What do you think of the change? Would you have appreciated a notification? Have you changed your email back already? Vent some social steam in the comments below!