Facebook throws in towel on email

Facebook throws in towel on email

Summary: Facebook, after unsuccessfully trying to get its users on its own email system, has thrown in the towel.


The social networking giant has told AFP by email that it is giving up on email "because most people haven't been using their Facebook email address, and we can focus on improving our mobile messaging experience for everyone".

The company launched its email service in 2010, and in 2012, prompted an outcry by changing the default address for messages to users' Facebook addresses.

The project was seen as an attempt to be a "Gmail killer" by getting members of the biggest social network to switch email accounts, but Facebook now admits that it did not work.

"We're notifying people who use their @facebook.com email that the feature is changing," the company spokesman said.

"When someone sends you an email to your @facebook.com address, it will no longer go to your Messages on Facebook.

"Instead, the email will be forwarded to the primary email address on your account. (People have the option to turn forwarding off.)"

The news comes just days after Facebook announced a huge deal worth up to $19 billion in cash and stock for mobile messaging service WhatsApp.

The deal bolsters the world's biggest social network — which has more than 1.2 billion members — with the 450-million-strong WhatsApp, which will be operated independently with its own board.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Tech Industry

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Gees, really.

    Gees, really. The person that came up with the idea in the first place should be fired from Facebook. What a lame brained idea.
    • Not really.

      It was worth a shot, it didn't work, so they killed it. Sound reasoning across the board. Ultimately, FB failing with email is far less damaging than Google failing with G+. That fact is FB makes their money from mobile, so why bother with email if you're struggling? Plus, with WhatsApp they put their non-email messaging on steroids.
      • Obviously wasn't as sound as they thought.

        Considering its failure - it wasn't as sound reasoning as they thought, now was it?

        Just because the reasoning sounds good doesn't mean it's sound reasoning.

        Everybody already has too many email addresses, and every email client is far superior to Facebook as far as handling email goes. There was really no demand at all for a Facebook email, and it really offered no benefits. All I got from it was an annoying iOS "feature" where it set everybody's Facebook email address as a permanent, unremoveable email address in my contacts list.
        • It's not like they bet the company on it.

          They tried, no one used it, so they killed it. On the scale of tech fails, this one is hardly a blip.
          • Apologist For FB

            Rationalizing it to make it sound so glib, so innocuous, so normal.
            It was a actually a long, dragged out process. where finally they realized what most of us did already. That we had no use to maintain a proprietary FB Email Client. In truth, it was a major marketing gaffe. I personally ignored it, if not outright resented it. And obviously I did not stand alone.
  • Facebook had email?

    • What's a Facebook?

      Is it like a face-plant?
      • No - it's like a farce magazine

        And they just kicked some of their users in the gonads again... Getting to be a bad habit with them.
  • Nobody used it, and it was annoying on iOS.

    Nobody used it, and it was annoying on iOS, because iOS won't allow you to remove it as an email address at long as iOS is connected to Facebook.
  • I never knew I had a Facebook email address!

    If Facebook had done a proper marketing job with its approach to email, maybe it would have been successful. I wasn't even aware that I had a facebook email address. However, I only log in infrequently (like once a month) so it doesn't have much effect on my life anyway! ;)
  • Facebooks great appeal for isolated connections

    Facebook "the great disconnected connection".
    Long live absurdity.
  • Thank heavens!

    Hated Facebook.com emails, Gmail lets you do so many things, total beat Facebook.com email power any day of the week. We actually use Gmail to get all of our business, AB Mobile Apps, emails forwarded to a single location, great service! I hate going through 10 different providers, if Facebook.com had allowed more functionality it probably would have survived better.
  • Is Facebook becoming irrelevant?

    There are many reasons for Facebook's incipient demise--though more than any other factor "boring" and falling out of hip-ness are probably the biggest factors. I have never understood why serious privacy concerns (especially for prospective job-seekers) negative impact on genuine social interaction, employer/employee issues and general banality didn't cook this turkey sooner.
    • As long as FB is profitable and has hundreds of millions of users

      They won't be irrelevant. They may be less influential, but as long as Zuck doesn't do anything stupid within a few quarters FB will have enough inertia to continue as long as they want.
  • WOAH NELLIE!!! A company with. . .

    A company with a head on it's shoulders.
    THAT! folks is a HUGE change for the good.
    In a world where there are (literally) THOUSANDS of email outlets,
    one huge company realizes it's not worth the bother.
    I have to applaud FaceBook for that.