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Remember email addresses? They’re going away

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You might recall that, in one of its bids to be everything on the internet to everyone, Facebook introduced email addresses a few years back. Well now the social network looks set to kill the feature for good.

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The email addresses, which were a serious source of controversy when they replaced users’ authentic email addresses in 2012, have never really been all that popular.

Speaking to Inside Facebook, a Facebook spokesperson explained what will happen if anyone sends you a message on your email address from here on out:

Over the next few weeks we’re notifying people who use their email that the feature is changing. When someone sends you an email to your 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 will have the option to turn forwarding off.)

We’re making this change because most people haven’t been using their Facebook email address, and we can focus on improving our mobile messaging experience for everyone.

There are a couple of interesting nuggets in that quote. First off there’s the admission that Facebook email addresses have pretty much been a dud. While that’s something we’ve all pretty much felt intuitively, it’s interesting to contrast that kind of open approach with the quiet shutdowns of some other Facebook products over the years.

The second interesting thing to note is the spokesperson’s emphasis on mobile messaging. In it lies a clue that Facebook’s US$19-billion buyout of WhatsApp wasn’t just about eliminating the competition but also ensuring that it has proper foothold in rapidly growing market space.

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