By Standard Digital Reporter
Facebook has defended itself against accusations of email “hijacking” after a user protest over changes to profiles on the site.
The social networking giant has removed personal email addresses displayed for its 900 million users and replaced them with @ facebook.com ones.
Although the company says it announced the changes in April, angry users claimed they had not been consulted on the plan.
Hundreds have taken to the web to complain, with more than 600 people signing up to a Facebook protest group called “Leave my email alone Facebook” in 12 hours.
Facebook users also shared tips on how to reset their emails on rival social networks like Twitter, where the firm was branded “lame” and “patronising”.
Facebook said it has been rolling out the change to make user details more “consistent” across the site.
The company first started offering its email service in 2010 but many users preferred to keep existing personal addresses as their primary account.
Encouraging more people to use the @ facebook.com address could boost profits by driving more traffic and advertising sales towards the site.
Interactive marketing analyst Anthony Mullen, from Forrester Research, said the plan could backfire over a “lack of transparency.”
He said: "It reeks of the same move Google did with its Buzz product when it automatically opted people in, and users recoiled against the action.
"This is a direction Facebook needs to move in - your email is a proxy for your identity on the internet and Facebook want to usurp people's pre-existing email identities with their own to help drive up traffic to its site and lock users into its service.