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Facebook Shuts Down @Facebook Email System 149

Posted by timothy
from the shot-in-the-dark-went-wild dept.
First time accepted submitter beaker_72 writes "The BBC are reporting that Facebook will end their email system which provided users an @Facebook.com email address in March. The official line from Facebook is that not many people have been using the service. Is that really the case or have they found it too challenging to monetize that part of their service? Did users stay away from this 'service' because they've become more savvy and recognized it for what it was — another way to harvest their data? Or is it the case that the market is currently saturated with free webmail services and there wasn't room for another one?"
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Facebook Shuts Down @Facebook Email System

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  • by mlts (1038732) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @01:12PM (#46335723)

    I'm guessing that since FB requires an existing E-mail address to sign up, having @facebook.com would be redundant... not to mention the lack of a really decent E-mail client.

    • by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @01:18PM (#46335813) Homepage Journal

      What's really annoying about it is the way they started by forcing people to use it as their contact address, and then those people suckered by their abuse now have people trying to reach them with a now-inactive system.

      It's the same basic problem with any website that tries to force it's "neat new features" on users. Youtube and googleplus is a similar thing. When google plus inevitably fails(and it will), they're going to have to go through an elaborate shutdown process that impinges on all the other google services people use.

      The point I'm trying to make(and no it won't reach anyone that needs to hear it, Dice) is to stop pretending your existing userbase will love and use your new services just because you tell them to.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Google+ isn't failing. Not by a long shot. It has features FB wishes it had. The issue with G+ that most people have, is that it isn't for announcing your latest bowel movement of Beibergasm of the day. Let the kiddies play on Facebook and twitter.

        • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:17PM (#46336659) Journal

          What I don't like is Google trying to force me to make a Google+ account, and even get a little sneaky about it.

          • by loufoque (1400831)

            You don't automatically get a Google+ account with a normal Google account?

            • Maybe you do now. But I've had my Gmail account for the better part of a decade.

          • What's the problem. If they trick you into making a google + account, and you never use it, it's not as if they get additional personal information from you that they don't already have. You pay nothing for it. Can people add you as... circles or whatever and tag you in photos without your approval? If so that seems like a problem independent of making you sign up for a + account.

            The youtube real name controversy I can at least understand on some level. I can't sympathize too much since I suspect mo
          • by Gonoff (88518)

            Do You have a Google account? Then you have Google+.
            Do you have a Gmail address? Then you have Google+.
            Do you have access to any Google service that is specifically yours (even search)? Then you have Google+.and every other service

            It's all one big system. Some services are restricted by location - Google Music for example. If you have one service, you do not have to sign up for anything else. Just sign in. There's nothing sneaky about it. If you don't want some, don't use them. If you don't have

            • by dcollins (135727)

              Were you literally born yesterday? People made these accounts before Google+ existed, and then Google+ presences were forced on people after the fact without their consent or desire. That's sneaky.

              As a side note: I have a Blogger account and whenever I go to the Account Personal Info page, there is a banner that says "Upgrade to Google+; Google gets better with Google+; Upgrade Now/ Learn More". Hasn't happened yet. Irritating to be nagged like that, but if it's forced on me I'll be more displeased.

              • by Gonoff (88518)

                Yes. I had a Gmail address long before. I also used it to log into other things. When they offer me a new service, I look and decide. I have not bought any Google books. I still have an account. Big deal.I have not made any use of their subscription music offering either but they remind me about it every time I go to listen to my own stuff.

                We all know why Google likes to link its stuff? To track us better? That will be the biggest reason but it's probably just easier/cheaper that way. It makes my l

        • That's only because no one is using it. Maybe your friends post stuff you don't like, but that seems like a problem with your friends, not the medium.

          • Actually, FB is nice for casual contact with people I grew up with, and family. Informal and often child like. I have and use FB, but it is limited. People I have common interests in, but aren't "friends" per se are much better over on Google+. Just my opinion.

            • by Dishevel (1105119)
              That is pretty much how they are. FB seems to be mostly stuff I do not care about from people I do care about. While Google+ is stuff I care about from people I do not know.
      • by _Shad0w_ (127912) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:50PM (#46337151)

        It just forwards all the e-mails to your @facebook.com address to your reigstered address now.

        • by arisvega (1414195)

          It just forwards all the e-mails to your @facebook.com address to your reigstered address now.

          Does it also read them?

      • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@wor f . n et> on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @04:36PM (#46338457)

        It's the same basic problem with any website that tries to force it's "neat new features" on users. Youtube and googleplus is a similar thing. When google plus inevitably fails(and it will), they're going to have to go through an elaborate shutdown process that impinges on all the other google services people use.

        Google's not going to shut down Google+. In fact, Google+ is central to their business. Google has admitted the main reason for G+ is to collect more user information [nytimes.com]. Given the unified privacy policy, the fact that Google can now track you through your use of its various products adds a ton of valuable information. And even if you don't "use" a G+ account, your use through YouTube etc, and those G+ buttons is monitored.

        So no, G+ is NOT going to go away, because it's central to Google's business. Google even admits that while some people find it creepy, as long as they remain "good", they can get away with a ton of things.

    • by samkass (174571) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @01:18PM (#46335823) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, judging by the popularity of Gmail, people being concerned with their data being harvested doesn't seem to be a concern at all. I think it was just plain executed badly.

      • by Albanach (527650) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @01:32PM (#46335991) Homepage

        Many users have been stung over the years by changing ISP and losing their email address. Or by not changing ISP, but their ISP changing their name and their email address going out the window.

        I think most people have a hard time seeing Google or Gmail disappearing from the face of the internet. And for those that are concerned, they can use their own domain on Gmail.

        However users may be less certain of Facebook's long term position. After all, look at where ICQ, MySpace, LiveJournal and the others are today. Maybe this is just a recognition by Facebook's own user base that they're happy to stick around for so long as Facebook is where things are happening, but that they have no great ties to the site and don't necessarily want to create them either.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      For some it would be a way to add a layer to hide your real email account. But i agree, most wouldn't care.

      I am sure they just didn't have enough users to make it cost effective.

    • by jellomizer (103300) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @01:48PM (#46336217)

      I am sorry a Facebook.com email address is rather unprofessional, unless you actually work at Facebook.

      Why is Facebook.com more unprofessional then say gmail.com?
      Well for one, Facebook is in generally more informal, it is all about gossip and keeping contacts with your friends. While you use Google for real work too.

      For your personal email it still needs a degree of professionalism, because that is what is going to be on your resume, and with other non-work related business contact.
      Your work email isn't that good because you can change jobs and your email goes away.
      The same if you use your ISP's email address.

      Hotmail.com, AOL.com, Yahoo.com all still work too. However you can sometimes seem dated.

      outlook.com could work too, but you seem like a Microsoftie.

      I myself prefer to have my own domain name, then link it to whatever email service that I like a the time.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mlts (1038732)

        I found that people judge you by your domain.

        Custom domain -- professional.

        @gmail/yahoo/hotmail -- hack.

        You also get what you pay for. I pay for Exchange hosted E-mail for my "professional" account, and get top tier reliability... and nobody sifting through the mailbox for ads.

        Of course, I do use the "free" E-mails. Might as well have all the FB stuff go somewhere, but if it is anything but junk, a "real" E-mail address is important, just like going to an interview for an IT position wearing proper clothi

        • If you judge people based on their choice of free or low-cost email provider then you, sir, are the hack. I've been using Yahoo email since they bought Geocities (and used Geocities email before that, as back in the day they were the only ones to offer pop3/smtp access for free).

          In all those years, there have only been a few noticeable outages, mostly very short-term. Their service is fast, reliable, and they keep making improvements. Why would I switch?

          • by Dan541 (1032000)

            If you judge people based on their choice of free or low-cost email provider then you, sir, are the hack.

            People are also judged on their choice of free or low-cost clothing. Which is why the guy wearing clothes from the charity bin doesn't get the executive job. It's called professionalism. You wouldn't wear track pants to work in a professional environment so why would you use hotmail on your resume?

        • by CCarrot (1562079)

          I found that people judge you by your domain.

          Custom domain -- professional.

          @gmail/yahoo/hotmail -- hack.

          You read the Oatmeal [theoatmeal.com] too, don't you?

      • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater&gmail,com> on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @02:44PM (#46337063) Homepage

        Do you also judge people by whether or not their home address is in a fashionable neighborhood? Whether their 'casual Friday' shirt comes from L.L. Bean or Wal-Mart?

        Seriously, I imagine there are more inane and shallow things to just people on than their email address... but it can't be a long list.

        • by nwf (25607)

          If I'm hiring for a position in the fashion industry, then I may very well check out what clothes they are wearing. Same for someone wanting a job in the tech industry. An applicant with an aol.com or yahoo.com says they just aren't serious about their profession. If they are applying to be a secretary, then indeed, I could care less what their email address domain is.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by DerekLyons (302214)

            The amazing thing is that, like all people with ignorant biases, you actually think these are reasonable statements.

        • If the email is for personal use, then no, it really doesn't matter.

          If you're trying to sell yourself as a professional, then using a free email service *does* come across as unprofessional. Why? Because you can whip off a free email address in 5 minutes with no effort. You don't need to have put any thought into it beforehand, and you look like a potential fly-by-night service.

          By simple virtue of the fact that someone has their own domain names, instantly says that they are at least trying for the long

          • Generally speaking, the harder it is to set something up speaks to how seriously a person takes said something.

            Generally speaking, you're full of shit. It's 2014, not 1994. Setting up a domain is about as easy as ordering a cup of coffee.

            By simple virtue of the fact that someone has their own domain names, instantly says that they are at least trying for the long haul. Or at least, there's a significantly greater chance that they are.

            You can set up your own domain, with it's own email address, just about

            • by Dan541 (1032000)

              Generally speaking, you're full of shit. It's 2014, not 1994. Setting up a domain is about as easy as ordering a cup of coffee.

              >

              Which makes using a free domain even less professional.

            • The effort required to set up an appropriate hosting account is still orders of magnitude more work than filling out a 5 line form.

              The point is that it demonstrates a bare minimum of technical competency, whether that is innate technical knowledge, or just being able to research a problem and following instructions. It's an unspoken interview question before anyone has even looked at your resume.

              Again, if your primary job is a window cleaner, or a plumber, or anything else non-technical, then it doesn't ma

    • I'm guessing that since FB requires an existing E-mail address to sign up, having @facebook.com would be redundant... not to mention the lack of a really decent E-mail client.

      Who doesn't need an extra email address? Facebook email could be incredibly useful as a spam bucket. Give facebook to the companies and organizations that you do not want to hear from but require an email for some reason.

      • by Yebyen (59663)

        As if I don't already get enough spam on Facebook... no thanks!

        (Actually, my facebook feed consists mostly of updates from The Onion, it's honestly a joy sometimes to visit the News Feed.)

  • by korbulon (2792438) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @01:14PM (#46335747)

    "Facebook Shuts Down."

    Alas, two years too soon.

    • You think Facebook will cease to exist in 2 years?

      • by korbulon (2792438)
        Merely hope.
        • You know that's definitely not going to happen, right?

          • by korbulon (2792438)

            You know that's definitely not going to happen, right?

            I don't believe in definitely / definitely not, especially when we're talking about an overhyped technology company in the midst of a tech bubble. But it will probably still be around then. Sigh.

            • by jandrese (485)
              AOL is still around. Companies can linger for a long time after they stop being relevant, especially ones that have a ton of cash on hand. Granted, I don't know how many more 18 billion dollar purchases Zuckerburg can make before they start having cashflow problems, but they don't appear to be hurting at the moment.
  • by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @01:14PM (#46335757)
    Why I don't like facebook is because my family used to exchange personal updates by email, which I liked. When they joined facebook, that stopped. I don't want to be on facebook, so by not joining I shut myself out. This kind of pressure is exactly what makes facebook so viral.

    When facebook was an upstart, playing nice with the status quo (email) benefitted them. Now facebook is the status quo, so alternatives do not benefit them.

    • by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @01:22PM (#46335855) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, the email-facebook dichotomy really describes the changes in the web over the last few years.

      Standardized tech-based distributed solution without central planning to centralized, secretive, over-advertized, manipulative hyper-corporate sites.

      SEO and web 2.0 were poison pills that are killing the actual utility of the internet as a collection of content and systems in favor of "content providers" like facebook.

      • I feel like starting to write letters. People used to maintain address books, with actual real world addresses in them! Wow.

      • I detest the underhanded way Facebook tried to funnel all email into their messaging system, but there are clear benefits to centralised communication in some situations, the most obvious being group conversations and event planning. These (and the personal web page that is your wall) is why Facebook took over email for a lot of communications.

        On the flip side, look at attempts to use Facebook-style communication in the workplace with Yammer etc. It only gets used by marketing and sales to pat each other

    • When my family subscribed to a plain old telephone service, they stopped visiting me. I didn't want to subscribe to Ma Bell. So by not joining, I shut myself out.
      Fortunately, the U.S. Justice Department split the monopoly and required the telephone companies to play nice with eachother.

      • It's more like, "When my family switched from Verizon[1] to AT&T[1], they stopped calling me, but I don't want to switch to AT&T[1] because they tap my phone and are all-around douchebags. By not getting an AT&T[1] phone, I've shut myself out". Luckily the government mandates that they be compatible, unlike Facebook which can do whatever the hell it wants[2].

        [1] I have no direct opinion of either Verizon or AT&T in this respect and the use of their names was simply because they were the firs

        • I do not believe that Facebook should be restricted in what it can and cannot do (at least as far as compatibility goes)

          In general, I am with you.
          However, once an internet company reaches the point where it facilitates mass-communication, there should be rules. See the telephone example to see how things go wrong otherwise.

        • by spxero (782496)

          While your comment is funny, the truth hurts. For the longest time my wife (then girlfriend) kept two phones, one on AT&T and one on Verizon. Because of her family on Verizon and me (and my family) on AT&T, it was cheaper for her to have two phones to talk to both sides than have an "unlimited minutes and messages" account on one service. YMMV.

    • by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @01:55PM (#46336335)

      I'm one of those people who likes Facebook specifically because I no longer have to maintain an address book or worry about who to include on what emails. Just throw it all out there and let people who care read it. I wish Facebook weren't proprietary, but I'm not going to be a zealot about it - when it dies I'll just move on to the next thing.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        That is why I DON'T like facebook. When I am sending a message to specific people, the focus is on whatever concerns us both. If I were just broadcasting information about myself for my (presumed) interested audience on Facebook, that interaction is no longer about our relationship, instead the only common factor is ME ME ME.
        • by MightyYar (622222)

          But it doesn't preclude you from using email, which most everyone still has. There is nothing intimate about multiple-recipient email blasts.

          Furthermore, Facebook has personal-message capability. Aside from being proprietary, this is exactly the same personal interaction as email - though it kind of combines email and chat.

    • by fermion (181285)
      This would be my impression. If people were 'more sophisticated' and worried about data harvesting, they would not use gmail. As it is, I don't know anyone who uses their facebook email. I don't see any difference between data collected on the site and data collected through email. It is probably just that no one is using it.
    • by Sporkinum (655143)

      Aye, there's the rub. I never get emails from my sister anymore, and if I email her, usually no response. Dad still emails me, even though he's on facebook. Most of them are forwards from his pals though. Best response from both is to pick up the phone and call.

  • Lack of marketing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tangent3 (449222) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @01:14PM (#46335759)

    How many people even know they had a free @facebook.com email address?

    • by Kjella (173770)

      I knew, from when they changed my contact address without asking me. Made me just as pissed as when companies sign me up for newsletters I don't want just because I bought something from a site. I love to "abuse" the report spam button on those, I'm sure legally you have somehow gotten my consent but fuck you. Same with Facebook and their coup.

    • I didn't know, so yes I was like "What the heck, facebook gives you a @facebook e-mail address?"

      That happened one other time to me when I was told (not long before the website was shut down) that everyone with a playstation2-linux.com forum account actually had a @playstation2-linux.com e-mail address, that would automatically get forwarded to the sign-in address. IIRC a couple of members who had known about for a long time used it as a throwaway/spam filter.

    • I knew they gave me one. But I never used it, and if anyone had asked for my list of emails, I probably wouldn't have even thought about it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    my emails shall always remain outside their greedy grasp. Same for Linkedin and other such services who promise convenience and ice cream if we just give them our souls. Not that email is private but at least it is private from THEM as long as I don’t play their game.

    • Where do i sign up?

    • by edibobb (113989)
      Ice cream? Nobody told me I could get ice cream!!
    • by c-A-d (77980)

      That linkedin stuff really burns my bacon. Everytime I log in, they beg me to let them log into my Gmail account so they can find more "connections" for me.

      No. Just because someone is in my email address book does NOT mean they are someone I want to connect with on a business level.

  • by Kevin108 (760520) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @01:16PM (#46335791) Homepage

    I would think most people have little use for an e-mail address that cannot be accessed from work.

  • I remember when facebook replaced all of my contact info with @facebook.com addresses, the bulk update ripped through my phone and messed a lot of things up.

    Can I now get my original contacts restored?

  • Or maybe... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pauldmartin (2005952) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @01:20PM (#46335841) Homepage
    Perhaps it's because they offered a bastardized inferior version of email for the sole purpose of mining more of their users' communications without providing any additional benefit to the consumer.
    • by colfer (619105)

      And any email system is a PITA to run. And if your spam filtering is not as good as Gmail's, you will hear about it. I'm surprised web host ISP's have not outsourced this stuff off their servers - except the 3rd party email companies cost as much as web hosting itself. That tells you it is expensive to run an email service.

    • by erice (13380)

      Definitely. Facebook email is an awkward and crippled parody of email. It is something to put up with for communicating with people who don't use use real email or who you don't trust with your real email address. But, seriously, why would anybody want to use Facebook email for communication that doesn't involve Facebook?

  • I think it's more because email use in general is on the decline. Facebook and other social media sites are the reason as people keep in touch with that instead of emailing. Couple that with the already entrenched services like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail etc and it's little wonder there was little interest.
  • by redmid17 (1217076) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @01:25PM (#46335885)
    No one uses the FB email address? Why would they when they need a valid email to sign up already?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    If it were because people were concerned about their data being harvested, Google would also be turning off their email service.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A thrill of hope. Drat.

  • The Facebook phone flopped, or so I assume since I haven't heard about it in over a year. Think back to when it came out: Microsoft had the Live accounts back then, obviously there are your Google accounts for Droids, Apple iCloud accounts for iPhones, etc. If Facebook had more penetration into the cell phone market, maybe the idea of a Facebook-central account that starts off as your email makes more sense? Again, I knew little about the Facebook phone, so just conjecture. Buying WhatsApp seems to be
  • by ripvlan (2609033) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @01:36PM (#46336041)

    ah - now I know why I haven't been getting email all of these years.

  • If FB shut it down it was only because they could not find a way to make money off it. Let's face it - everyone has caught on to these creeps and how they operate. Does anyone actually use their real name on there anymore? Does anyone actually sign up using their primary email address (with all your contacts and every important email message you have ever sent)?

    FB reminds me a lot of Microsoft. You can only piss off your users so much before they 1) stop trusting you with their data and 2) start looking for

  • I'm on Faceboook daily and didn't even know they had an email service.

  • When they launched this feature I was very curious how the integration would work, so I sent myself test emails from a few accounts. I never got them. I tried maybe a year (?) later? I also never got them. So I would consider that to be somewhat of a patent failure.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    There go all my phishing scams that claim I work for Facebook.

  • Tweets and Snapchat are the pushing the attention span envelope at this point.

  • by R.Mo_Robert (737913) on Tuesday February 25, 2014 @08:28PM (#46340615)

    Nobody used it because it sucked. My recollection is that it was basically another way to use Facebook Chat at first, around the same time that Chat and Messages were confusingly combined into one. I read a comment above that says it just forwards it to your registered e-mail address now. Regardless of whether they were able to monetize it or not, I can't see the appeal, and I bet nobody relied on it.

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