Heat Continues Over Facebook Email Switch; Contacts, Emails Lost

Facebook’s controversial email address switch last week continued to irritate users, as those with mobile devices or other software that synchronizes their address books with their Facebook contacts are finding in many cases that their contacts’ actual email addresses have vanished in favor of their Facebook email addresses. UPDATED: Facebook told Mashable a bug in its application-programming interface is causing mobile devices to pull the last email address added to accounts, instead of the email address designated by users as the primary one.

Facebook’s controversial email address switch last week continued to irritate users, as those with mobile devices or other software that synchronizes their address books with their Facebook contacts are finding in many cases that their contacts’ actual email addresses have vanished in favor of their Facebook email addresses. UPDATED: Facebook told Mashable a bug in its application-programming interface is causing mobile devices to pull the last email address added to accounts, instead of the email address designated by users as the primary one.

A Facebook spokesperson told Mashable:

Following the changes to the email visibility settings, we have received reports that certain phones are syncing their address books to the new Facebook address that is visible instead of the email users had previously shared with friends. We do not believe that this is a widespread issue and have confirmed that our API is correctly delivering all email addresses that are shared with a user, regardless of whether the email addresses are shown on a person’s timeline.

We are in the process of fixing this issue and it will be resolved soon. After that, those specific devices should pull the correct addresses.

CNET shared a host of complaints on the subject, including this blog entry from Adobe employee Rachel Luxemburg:

Today, a co-worker discovered that his contact info for me had been silently updated to overwrite my work email address with my Facebook email address. He discovered this only after sending work emails to the wrong address.

And even worse, the emails are not actually in my Facebook messages. I checked.

They’ve vanished into the ether.

For all I know, I could be missing a lot more emails from friends, colleagues, or family members, and never even know it.

Luxemburg told CNET she experienced these issues despite changing her email settings on Facebook to reflect her actual email address, and not her Facebook email addresses, and CNET also shared similar complaints from Hacker News, Slashdot, Reddit, and others.

Addressing the issue of “lost” emails, a Facebook spokesperson told CNET:

By default, messages from friends or friends of friends go into your Inbox. Everything else goes to your other folder. (If you click on messages in your left-hand navigation menu, you’ll see below it another folder that drops down.) That is likely where the messages are being sent from other people’s emails. Even if that person is friends with them on Facebook, if the friend doesn’t have that email on their Facebook account, the message could end up in the other folder.

The response from the social network may help users find emails that they thought were lost, but what about recovering contact information?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.