Close Video

Science & Tech

Why do I suddenly have a Facebook email address, and how do I get rid of it?

If you're like me and you've already logged in to Facebook ten times today, you may have noticed a change -- you now have an "@facebook.com" email address. You never asked for it or wanted it, but your new Facebook email address is currently displaying as your primary email contact. Check out the Contact Info on your Facebook profile page, and you're likely to find that you now have a "Your-profile-name-here"@facebook.com email address -- for which you had never registered, nor been made aware that you have.

You anti-Timeline holdouts are not affected by this change. If you haven't switched to the new Timeline display on your Facebook profile, you still have your traditional email address displaying.

Facebook has been rolling out the @facebook.com email address change for the last few days, and this weekend bloggers noticed and started crying foul.On his blog Hacking for Christ -- yes, that is the actual name of the blog -- Mozilla programmer Gervase Markham complains that "Facebook silently inserted themselves into the path of formerly-direct unencrypted communications from people who want to email me. In other contexts, this is known as a Man In The Middle (MITM) attack. What on earth do they think they are playing at?"

Oddly, the new Facebook email address is not even an email address. Emails sent to your @facebook.com email address will simply forward to your Facebook Messages box. There is no Facebook email page where you would log in to check your email, a la Gmail or Yahoo Mail. The email address is just a more complicated way for people to send you Facebook messages.

Your Facebook news feed today may be hopping with posts from users who are furious over this change. Blog articles with names like "Facebook's Lame Attempt To Force Its Email Service On You" and "Facebook Just Changed Your Email Without Asking" are getting link-shared like gangbusters.

It's not difficult to imagine that this could lead to all manner of unsolicited spam in your Facebook message box.

The common thread to all the angry statuses and blog posts is, "How do I make this go away?". It's easy to remove your @facebook.com email from your profile. Just log in to your Facebook account (for the eleventh time today) and do the following:

  1. Bring up your Profile page.
  2. Click on the About link underneath your profile picture.
  3. Scroll down to Contact Info and click Edit.
  4. Find your listed emails on the Edit screen -- they will all have tiny circles to the far right of the Edit screen. A circle with a line through denotes a Hidden email, a clear circle denotes a Visible email.
  5. For your @facebook.com email, change the setting from Shown on Timeline to Hidden from Timeline. That pesky new email will no longer display on your profile.
  6. Resume complaining about Facebook on your Facebook statuses.

Indeed, not all Facebook users have had this change pushed onto them -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was not given an @facebook.com email address the same way that you were. Reuters reporter Matthew Keys tried emailing Zuckerberg on the Facebook email address that he would have been assigned with this formula.

The emails all bounced back.