Welcome to the soon-to-be enormous world of Facebook email spam

Welcome to the soon-to-be enormous world of Facebook email spam

Summary: Thanks, Facebook. You just [expletive deleted] us up the [expletive deleted]. [Expletive deleted] you!


I am pissed off. Like most other Facebook users, I woke up recently to discover I had a Facebook email address. I don't want a Facebook email address. Frankly, if I were King of the World, I'd boot Facebook into a giant black hole and laugh gleefully as the entire thing burned to a never-to-haunt-us again crispy hulk.

Fine, I'm mixing metaphors. But I'm pissed.

I didn't pay all that much attention to this until I read Violet's piece on Facebook email addresses, and then I realized what a nightmare those [profanity deleted] at Facebook are.

See also: Apple iOS 6 and the Facebook email address lock-in?

First, I didn't exactly want to log into Facebook. I try to avoid doing so more than once a month. But, fine, in I went. Then I looked at my profile settings and my contact settings. I found my previously entered email address (the one I use for everything) and noticed that I'd explicitly marked it as "Hidden from profile".

I had already told Facebook I didn't want to share my email address.

So what do the [expletive-deleted] at Facebook do? They gave me a Facebook email address and made it public. Even though they knew I explicitly DID NOT WANT my email address displayed on Facebook.

But that is not the worst of it. Oh, no. Facebook doesn't allow me to turn off my new Facebook email inbox and refuse mail. They just allow me to hide my Facebook email address.

So, let's say I want to send email to someone named Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook. He doesn't want me to see his Facebook email address. Oh, my, I still want to send him email there.

What could his address possibly be? Hmmm. Well, Facebook takes the first name and concatenates it with the second name. That's tough to figure out. No, no it's not. I'll just send mail to MarkZuckerberg@facebook.com -- even though the email address is supposed to be hidden.

Now, imagine you're a spammer.

You know that, oh, about 900 million people use Facebook -- and almost all use their real names. So, you know that if you put a real name (minus the space) in front of @facebook.com, most likely those users will get that email.

See also: Facebook email: pointless endeavor, spammer’s dream, or both?

Now, do those users have email rules? No. Do those users have junk filters? No. Do those users have any defense at all, even the ability to turn off getting email. No. No. No. No.

Thanks, Facebook. You just [expletive deleted] us up the [expletive deleted]. [Expletive deleted] you!

Normally, I'm not a big fan of added regulation, but I think it's high time we regulated the [expletive deleted] out of Facebook. Previously, I'd mentioned I wanted to prevent employers from demanding access to your Facebook accounts, but I now think it's high time we explicitly legislate Facebook into making all new features optional and opt-in only.

This [f-bomb] sucks.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Collaboration, Security


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • Amen!

    I don't [expletive deleted] use [expletive deleted] facebook any [expletive deleted] more. Still [expletive deleted] angry at those [expletive deleted] at facebook who [expletive deleted] think they [expletive deleted] know better...
  • Goodbye Facebook

    Really, I very rarely even log into Facebook. I've been meaning to cancel my account for weeks now. Time to go. Bye bye.
    • I use FB only sporadically...

      If their mail server fills up with spam, they can keep it and store it indefinitely. I certainly won't be getting any important email from anyone as I used my junk POP3 account to sign up in the first place. No one I know uses that address or synchs from FB. Let them deal with it all...
    • RE: Failbook

      All i can say is:

      [b]"Thank GOD I never signed up with Failbook".[/b]

      They must be run by a bunch of [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted].
    • Good Luck!

      You cancel your account but it never goes away.
      • There is an option to have your account deleted

        About 6 weeks ago I did just that. They may retain some info, but in my case the only thing the have is my username, which is NOT my real name. I never filled in any optional info. So they don't have much.

        Cancelling or deleting your account will send them a message if enough people do it. Even if they retain your info, you will not be seeing their ads, which is their bread and butter!
    • good luck with cancelling Facebook account!!

      I've had friends try to cancel facebook accounts. For most, it takes months of effort...

      Seems Facebook income decreases if total number of subscribers drops significantly; so they make it damned hard to say goodbye...
  • Two words...Google Plus

    • If

      If that every takes off, people will just move to start hating that one. Instead of coming up with constructive ideas to stay connected to the people you know.
      Han CNX
      • If

        Here's a few constructive ideas to stay connected:
        1. talk to your real friends face to face
        2. pick up the phone and talk to your real friends
        3. send your real friends an email
        4. send your real friends a letter (radical idea I know, but might still work!)
        5. talk to your real friends using an IM client
        6. Skype your real friends

        Is that enough constructive ideas for you?
    • Just pointing out that...

      ...AFAIK, Google Plus actually DOES force you to get a new e-mail address (You get one when you sign up for a "Google Account".

      I don't know if they're forcing one to have their google e-mail address public, like Facebook.

      You guys are free to dislike this post. :P
  • I think it's username, not first+last

    You know how you have the option of setting a Facebook username (to show up as facebook.com/yourusername)? I think it's using that, not FirstLast, because if it was FirstLast, they'd have 5000 people using JohnSmith@facebook.com ... also because I saw what it set for my FB email, and it wasn't FirstLast. It was my username.
    • That's true, sort of...

      As I understand it, it's first last by default, but if there are 10 John Smiths, one johnsmith@facebook.com will get a lot of spam.
      David Gewirtz
      • agreed

        I have 3 john smiths in my friends list and the closest one to the original is #35513 so I am glad I don't have a unique name.
  • So many alarmists

    Your Facebook email is based on your public username. Email sent to this address goes to Facebook Messages not your regular email. Also, you can go to your settings and remove the facebook email from your profile... Not a big deal. Honest.
    • Try it you Cant......

      Facebook just became obsolete, time to Go F/B byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
      • Can

        You can, I just went in and looked at it. And, lo and behold, it was ALREADY set up to not show on my timeline, and be visible only to me. (Consistent with the setting I had for my actual e-mail address)

        So many people really don't have a clue, but love to keep hatin'.
        Han CNX
      • You can only hide it.

        'Nuff said.

        EDIT: Meant for bottom post. :P
    • Did you even read the article?

      He said you can hide your email, but because they are using firstlastname@facebook it makes it easy to guess.
    • I don't think you can...

      True, anything sent to the FB email goes to the Other Messages section of Facebook Messages...

      But you can't remove your FB email - even if you hide it from your TL, all one has to do is take a look at your profile URL: [username]@facebook.com and you have no where to hide...
      IT Pixie