Facebook has taken it upon itself to change its 900 million users’ email address and replace it with one that ends in “@facebook.com”.
The changeover happened on Monday, with each individual’s personal email account being hidden in place of the one Facebook thinks you should use.
It means that anyone who searches for you on Facebook and wanted to send an email will now only be able to see @facebook.com – unless you manually revert.
This means the email will come via Facebook messages instead of another account.
Technology blogs lit up after outraged users noticed the change had occurred.
“Don’t do this again,” wrote Gizmodo while Forbes.com declared it “presumptuous”.
Facebook claimed the change is to protect users’ privacy and security by not displaying a personal email address but the site’s more generic one.
A spokesman said: “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.”
It is not the first time Facebook has pulled a “Big Brother” move on social network users.
Anyone who uses Facebook is already turning over reams of sensitive personal information to large companies every day.
There has been much criticism of Facebook’s changeover to the Timeline profile – drawing complaints that it makes past activity more easily accessible.
Facebook also launched a new feature this week which uses the GPS signal in cell phones to help you find friends – and potential new friends – nearby.
The “Friendshake” feature will allow you to make friends with people who are close by. The time-saving feature means that, if you meet a group of new people, you can all use this for one-touch friendship, rather than manually finding out each person’s name and separately adding them.
Some users may find this a boon to easily connect with new acquaintances, while others may see this as an invasion of privacy and way for unwanted people to get your attention.
However, the feature is currently one you have to manually turn on, by visiting http://www.fb.com/ffn – the last letters are an acronym for Find Friends Nearby.
When you enter the URL into your mobile browser, Facebook will provide a list of others who have visited the same page recently in the same area. A quick click will then add you as friends.
How to change your email address back:
1. Go into the “About” section of your profile
2. Where the email address is displayed, click “Edit”
3. Click on the circle along from the @facebook.com address
4. Change setting to “hidden from timeline”
5. Click on circle next to other email address and choose “shown on timeline”
6. Hit “Save” at the bottom of the edit box