Facebook Stealthily Hijacked your Contact Information

posted in: Social Media | 0

Did you notice? Even if you checked in on the social media site in the past few days, you probably didn’t see your new email address.

That’s because they did it without the slightest bit of warning, fanfare or notification – almost as if they didn’t want people to be aware of the change. They certainly didn’t ask permission before reassigning you to a new @facebook.com email address, but it definitely happened. If you go to your info page and scroll down, you’ll find that where you previously listed some work or personal address, there is now in its place one showing your name (or the number Facebook assigned you in the absence of a personalized vanity url) @facebook.com. Your real one is nowhere to be seen.

What on earth? It’s hard to imagine the corporate mindset that views changing people’s publicly available information without their consent as an acceptable act, but perhaps Facebook has become numbed to respect for the concept of user control of personal information during their incessant changes to the privacy policy. Or perhaps they simply hope we have.

The company acknowledged the change to Matthew Keys with this statement:

 As we announced back in April, we’ve been updating addresses on Facebook to make them consistent across our site.

In addition to everyone receiving an address, we’re also rolling out a new setting that gives people the choice to decide which addresses they want to show on their timelines. 

 Ever since the launch of timeline, people have had the ability to control what posts they want to show or hide on their own timelines, and today we’re extending that to other information they post, starting with the Facebook address.

That’s a rather disingenuous response, considering the fact that they instituted the change, converting the address users had selected for sharing to one of their own creation, without offering the first bit of notice, much less choice. In fact, this sort of unauthorized redirection is usually referred to as the unsavory practice of making a man-in-the-middle attack.

The good news is that so far it appears only personal profiles, not businesses, have been stealth switched. I wouldn’t count on that remaining the case, however.

If you prefer your real email address to be shown on your page, follow these steps to return your original information to its rightful place:

  1. Go to your info page, contact information, and click the Edit link.
  2. Change the setting of your Facebook email address to “Hidden from Timeline.”
  3. Change the setting of your real address to “Shown on Timeline.”
  4. Remember to click “Save” at the bottom of the page.

Changing users’ default information without authorization is just another in the series of offenses to personal control that Facebook has made over the past couple years. This pattern has caused a small but noticeable trend among former fans of the site to simply disable or eradicate their profiles entirely. Who can blame them, with the sense that sudden sneak attacks may totally change what you share, and with whom? What’s next, changing the information listed under Religious Views or Employers to something Facebook finds more palatable?

Note to Facebook: This kind of arrogant, imperious behavior is NOT the way to make and keep friends. Let’s at least pretend to maintain some sort of respect for the actual preferences of users, shall we?

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Sarah Warlick is responsible for making us and all of our clients sound professional and eloquent as the content director at bbr marketing. In this role, Sarah is in charge of ensuring that all copy is well-written, accurate and free of pesky typos before it heads out the door. Additionally, she is a prolific writer and a frequent contributor to bbr marketing’s blog sites. She spends a good deal of time writing copy for our clients and has a unique way of crawling into our clients’ heads to create ghostwritten copy that sounds as if it came directly from their pen.

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