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

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

Summary: Just after Apple announced iOS 6 Facebook integration and contact sync Facebook forced new email addresses on its users. Is this a lock-in?


Facebook pissed off more users than usual when people became aware this week that it is forcing new email addresses on its users, and made those addresses public and default.

With the way it has been implemented, those who combine Facebook with Apple's iOS 6 may find themselves in an email lock-in if they aren't vigilant.

On the surface what Facebook did was change everyone's public profile settings to show a new @Facebook email address which nobody wanted or asked for.

Facebook users that had no public email address now display one, and users that had a preferred public email chosen in their settings now have to accept or revert the change.

Beneath the hood, Facebook users will now want to check any Facebook-synched address books as well.

Across the internet Facebook users are so mad that few people are talking about the fact the change now allows them to send email from their Facebook account (something that was previously unsupported).

The general feeling of nonconsent, invasiveness and motive suspicion is double for Apple users that welcome iOS 6 and its Facebook integration into their lives and address books/contacts with open arms.

"(...) And your Facebook friendsâ?? profile information is integrated into Contacts, so when they update an email address or phone number you automatically stay up to date."

If it all goes as is suggested, the Facebook-Apple integration will probably be so seamless, users will be pressed to notice their address book or personal contact information has changed at all.

Facebook's reach has gone into people's address books on their phones. Some Facebook app users are reporting that their contacts on their phones have been changed without their consent, and perfectly good email addresses for their Facebook friends have been changed.

Apple's new Facebook integration claims to make this kind of invasion into standard operating practices when people use iOS 6 and Facebook together.

Yes, some people will find it helpful to have contacts updated automatically.

If that's, you know, what people want.

Lock-in: literally

Headline outrage about Facebook's forced email change read like headlines from The Onion (Users Angry At Facebook For Doing Unwanted Stuff To Their Online Lives No One Was Warned About).

Either way, it's easy for many of us to give this mess a standard, reserved-for-Facebook eye-roll.

I did: I caught the email address change to my profile last Thursday. I had my profile set to showing NO public email address, and Facebook had placed one there - its own - without my consent.

But admittedly, I thought I'd just lost track of the Facebook messing-with-your-stuff circus and didn't mention it to anyone.

Except I hadn't, and this time it's really bad.

Redditor homolconic explains why:

This isn’t a big deal because Aunt Millie will look up your email address on your FB profile and start sending church social invitations to your FB inbox.

This is a big deal because everyone who has a mobile device or other software that synchronizes their address book with their FB contacts is in danger of blowing away the perfectly good email address they had for you and replacing it with your FB email address.

What specifically happens depends on how the sync software is written, of course. It may keep old ones it had, it may simply add the new one, it may change the default email address, or it may throw the old ones away.

I personally believe this is the purpose of the update: To silently worm FB email addresses out beyond FB through mobile apps that synchronize FB. And that is a big deal.

Do you sync your contacts with Facebook? Do you want to?

Many sites right now helpfully advise Facebook users how to go into settings and change their email addresses back to the way users had set up their preferred form of public contact information.

Yet with an added component of potential address book meddling, and our era of apps and app user permission fiascos, reverting your settings isn’t going to be enough if you want to protect yourself.

If you have any software, apps that sync your contacts or address books with Facebook (think home computer, devices, phones, iOS 6) check your settings. Now.

And stay on top of it.

As I said in the Facebook debate, The Social Web: Who Owns Your Data:

What was it that Thomas Jefferson said?

The price of Facebook is eternal vigilance!

If Apple didn't know about Facebook's mass-forced email change when they announced the Apple-Facebook partnership at WWDC two weeks ago, then I suspect Apple is not feeling very pleased about this mess.

Topics: Apple, Collaboration, Social Enterprise

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  • I don't want Facebook

    If Facebook becomes a core part of the iOS experience then the iPad I have will be the last iPad I ever buy.
    • Wondering on this....

      There would need to be an opt out.
      This is especially true for use these a byod devices. There is no way I can have my FB and work contacts integrated.

      As a side note, it appears if you did not have Timeline active, your default settings did not get changed.
      • Non timeline users are affected

        I don't use timeline and my settings were changed.
    • If you don't want Facebook

      Then don't open a Facebook account. See what I did there? Problem solved.
    • If you do not have a Facebook account

      then this will not be an issue. Do you have a Twitter account? iOS has included Twitter integration for quite some time. Point being that if you do not use Twitter then the fact that it is integrated in the core OS does not seem to be an issue if you do not use it. Same thing with Facebook.
  • The devils unite!

    I'm trying to think of a more insidious, fascist, corporate alliance than facebook and apple....................... um.................. na, can't think of one.
    • The devil is in the detail

      "I'm trying to think of a more insidious, fascist, corporate alliance than facebook and apple.." it should not have taken that long to say WINTEL both have a number of convictions.

      Its a nice bit of speculation Apple would announce its Facebook alliance just before Facebook announced their little email tie in scheme/scam. The theory falls to bits though becasue there is nothing in the Facebook mail tie in has any benefit to Apple. Facebook is a cross platform product.

      You could construe that this is some sort of conspiracy to move people away from other mailing systems like google, hotmail etc but then Apple also run their own mail system which will also get dumped by Facethief.

      If your looking for on insidious fascist company look no further than Facebook. It's just taken most people a long time to understand. Facebook is and always has been about controlling your private data for his use and manipulation.
      • What WINTEL conviction?

        First WINTEL isn't a corporation. 2nd, although Microsoft has been convicted, Intel hasn't. They signed a consent degree in Japan (which didn't involve Microsoft, BTW). They have paid down some hefty bonds in places where the Napoleonic Code assumes Guilty until proven innocent. But they have yet to have their day in court.

        Clearly the devil IS in the details ... ;)
      • galle can you read

        Galle as you may have read I wrote "WINTEL both have a number of convictions". Do you get the idea "both" that means two companies. I do not think anyone believes WINTEL is a single company

        As you will of course also know Intel paid $1.25bn to AMD at the end of one of their actions so claiming they have no convictions is a bit of a joke. As you say the devil is in the detail.
    • What about

      The Facebook integration in Window 8? It's embedded deeply into Window 8...
      Jumpin Jack Flash
      • Was it something that Microsoft or its Windows division did?

        You, somehow, had to bring up Microsoft into the discussion, in order to try to bash them. Yet, the problem outlined in the article, is about how Facebook did something that members weren't looking to do on their own, and it was done without consent.

        Is the integration in Windows 8 for Facebook something that Microsoft did against the will of the people who use Windows? Are people able to ignore that integration with Facebook? Are people using iOS able to ignore it. People did not ask for the Facebook lock-in with email addresses, and therefore, it should not be there. Same with Windows, if it happens there too. But, the discussion was/is not about Windows or Microsoft. Can you ever utter a sentence without having to think of a way to bring Microsoft into the discussion in order to bash them?
    • Facebook and Microsoft, Facebook and Google, Facebook and (handset maker)..

      Yeah, I think those are three combos that could top the Facebook and Apple combo.

      Luckily, one will never happen.
      • never happen - can't gain a monopoly that way.

        This has to be yet another attempt by fb to be all things to everyone, and lock out possible competition by locking in users. Yet another reason I am so happy I do not belong to fb.
        • süper robot ve sünger bob oyunları

          süper robot ve sünger bob oyunları

          Organik Hayat
    • Android

      One of the things I *didn't* like about my Android phone was the way it was always "suggesting" that I link Facebook contacts to people in my contacts list. This "alliance" is nothing more than one company taking advantage of another's APIs in order to reap their own benefits. In this case the Facebook app added my FB contacts to my on-board address book, then the suggestions were made by the address book app.

      Given that I never asked the Facebook app to add these contact to a separate app, my choices very quickly became, link the contacts or have duplicate contacts for all the most important people in my life. To make matters worse, when I used the voice recognition to "call John Doe" I would be asked to pick a number or email address from the *FACEBOOK* card unless I had linked the contacts WHICH I DID NOT WANT TO DO.

      It's not a Facebook/Apple thing, it's a Facebook thing.
  • Bad mistake on Apple's part.

    Bad. Bad. REALLY bad!!!
    • Enough

      Enough with the insipid histrionics. Blue's got nothing but supposition and you are a drama queen.
    • How?

      As I pointed out above if you do not have a Facebook account or do not want to use the integrated functionality you do not have to.
  • Equal and opposite reaction?

    Perhaps the domain name registrar should change Facebook's entry to ...
    ... and Apple's to ...
    ... say the week before the companies are due to report their financial results.
  • why are you still using facebook?

    Just ditch it. I am happy to say that I have had no Facebook privacy concerns since doing so.