Facebook testing summary notification e-mails

Facebook testing summary notification e-mails

Summary: Facebook is testing a new Email Frequency feature that sends a summary email with all your recent notifications. The point is to reduce inbox clutter while also driving more traffic to the social network.


Facebook is testing a new type of e-mail notification that summarize all profile activity for users who currently generate a large number of notification e-mails. The social networking giant clearly hopes to reduce the inbox clutter it is causing for some of its members by cutting down on the number of emails it sends out.

Instead of getting an e-mail for every new notification you receive on Facebook, you'll just get a summary e-mail every so often. Here is how the company describes the new Email Frequency feature:

We're testing a feature for people who are very active on Facebook and receive lots of email notifications from us. We'll provide a new summary email and turn off most individual email notifications. If you want to turn them back on, there's a control in your account settings.

As is typical with Facebook, those in the test will have their e-mail notification account settings automatically changed: all alert options will be turned off except for the summary e-mail. While the feature is probably a good idea, this involuntary switch may annoy or anger at least some of the users who experience it. Users can of course change their settings back by updating their account settings, but by then it's already too late.

I changed my settings long ago so that Facebook sends me no e-mails whatsoever, regardless of the notification. I certainly would not be happy if Facebook changed those settings for me, which sometimes happens when the company adds a new type of notification e-mail.

The reduction of inbox clutter from Facebook isn't simply a nice gesture on the company's part. By default, Facebook sends users individual e-mail notifications for over 70 different actions on the site. If you're getting that many e-mails, chances are you're ignoring the majority (or even all) of them.

At the same time, if you use a smartphone and get notifications in real-time, you may often forget about what you were notified about if it happened when you were particularly busy. A summary e-mail of all the recent notifications could thus be useful.

In short, Facebook is hoping summary e-mails will get users to go back to the site more often than individual e-mails currently do. If you get lots of e-mails from Facebook, what do you think of this change?

See also:

Topics: Social Enterprise, Collaboration

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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  • RE: Facebook testing summary notification e-mails

    "We???re testing a feature for people who are very active on Facebook and receive lots of email notifications from us. We???ll provide a new summary email and turn off most individual email notifications. If you want to turn them back on, there???s a control in your account settings. "

    Looks like Facebook is taking lessons from Apple. How about using the "Opt-In" model where if I want the summary I go select it instead of forcing it on me and then making me go change back to what I prevously had?
  • I filter all FB mail off to a special folder

    On a rare occasion, I find myself waiting for a FB reply from someone so I wait for the email to arrive then go to my FB account. All I have to do is watch for new mail to arrive in the folder. Outside of those instances, I just empty the folder about once a month.
  • RE: Facebook testing summary notification e-mails

    I have no problem with the emails I receive from FB. I deselected the notifications I don't care about, like game invitations. If emails bother some users, why can't *they* opt-in to the new summary email choice? Instead, I now have to go in and set all my notifications back to what they were. WHY do they always do this?!

    I noticed by default in this new system, you don't get emailed when someone invites you to an event. That seems like a great idea. So, if I drop off FB for a few weeks, as I am prone to do when I need to focus, and a friend invites me to a party, I may miss it because I don't get the email notification? Yeah, that's a GREAT idea!
  • RE: Facebook testing summary notification e-mails

    Thank you for publishing this article on the change to fb. I received the email yesterday, and being the reasonably cautious person that I am, was wondering if I was being scammed. It's good to know it's not a fake.

    I do get a lot of email notifications, and I do delete most of them, so I will give this a try to see how it works for me. Then I'll decide what to do with my settings.
  • Have Received No Notification Emails

    I wasn't sure how I would like the new system, and was afraid that I would miss something important. Turns out that I've been able to stay on top of notifications on my mobile, and I haven't missed the individual emails at all.

    However, I haven't received a single summary email since the new system was put in place. Has this happened to anyone else?

    Brittany Highland
    Knektion, LLC