Facebook will terminate its email service that gives users @facebook.com addresses by the end of March. Instead, the social network will reroute mail to the email address used to sign in to a Facebook account.
What does this mean for the marketers among us? Not much, considering most of us never used it anyway. What it does mean, though, is that any one of Facebook’s 1.3 billion active users can now email you directly, whether or not you’ve listed your email on your profile page.
In order to deter a barrage of emails from strangers, Facebook says that it will limit the number of messages a user can receive from people they are not friends with on the social network. The company will also design systems to detect spam and will filter spam before it reaches a user’s inbox.
“Facebook’s dream to be the single destination for all clearly did not materialize,” says Nathaniel Perez, global head of social at SapientNitro. “While the Instagram and now WhatsApp acquisitions were strategic moves for the network to adapt to changing times and audiences, retiring email is simply a long overdue move.”
If a Facebook user goes into their settings in order to edit their @facebook.com address, the below message will now pop up:
Facebook launched the @facebook.com service in November 2010 to enable users to receive Facebook messages and SMS texts in addition to conventional emails. It became controversial in 2012, as Facebook replaced a user’s primary email account on the profile with an @facebook.com address.
Whether or not the change will end up benefitting marketers in any way farther down the line remains to be seen, but retiring the current email system seems to be a neccessary move for Facebook to update its marketing arsenal.
“In light of such a move, leveraging ‘real’ email addresses becomes an important and necessary step, as Facebook.com addresses are obviously rarely used by direct marketers,” Perez says.
One thing is for sure – a lot more people now know they have a @facebook.com email address than they ever did before.