Facebook testing summary notification e-mails

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.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

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?

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