Facebook has made the move to post users email addresses on their Facebook profiles in plain text again, having changed it initially for security reasons.
Indeed, it seems that the initial reasons for Facebook not simply posting the addresses in plain text are fairly obvious; it prevents just anyone from rifling through Facebook and auctioning off bundles of email addresses that are known to be in use to any unscrupulous individual who might use them for nefarious purposes. Until now, Facebook has boasted users’ email addresses on their profiles as images, but this has now shifted back to plain text.
The folks from InsideFacebook were able to get in touch with the folks from Facebook and get a little more information about the whole thing. Facebook’s reponse was relatively straightforward,
“Showing email addresses in plain text makes it easier for people to use the information to connect with their friends. We’ve improved our tools for detecting and preventing profile scraping over the last few years such that this additional precaution is no longer necessary.”
If nothing else, it’s nice to see that the guys at Facebook are confident enough in their service’s security not to worry about anyone harvesting email addresses en masse from the system. Indeed, there have been a few attempts to do so before now, with the makers of one app that seemed designed to do little else than harvest contact details from Facebook very quickly finding themselves in legal trouble with the social networking site late last year.
Still, we’d imagine, as Facebook itself suggests, that the biggest difference this will make for most people is that they’ll be able to copy and paste email addresses directly from Facebook rather than rewriting them by hand, which is a minor convenience.
For anyone worried… now could be the time to change the email address that Facebook talks to.