Reclaim your hijacked email account in Facebook

Picture taken on May 12, 2012 in Paris shows an illustration made with figurines set up in front of Facebook's homepage. Facebook, already assured of becoming one of the most valuable US firms when it goes public later this month, now must convince investors in the next two weeks that it is worth all the hype. Top executives at the world's leading social network have kicked off their all-important road show on Wall Street -- an intense marketing drive ahead of the company's expected trading launch on the tech-heavy Nasdaq on May 18. AFP PHOTO/JOEL SAGET AP Graphics Bank

(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY You might have heard that Facebook has done it again. The world's largest social networking service routinely changes user settings without warning and without assessing how their customers feel about the change. This time Facebook has hidden your standard email address in your "About" profile and replaced it with an @facebook.com email address.

Email sent to your username@facebook.com address does not go to your standard email service -- such as Outlook or Gmail -- and in fact, it can't be configured to do so. Instead, it is delivered to you within Facebook's messaging system, so now the only way to get communication within Facebook is using the clumsy message window.

That might be acceptable for ordinary users (though based on the complaints I'm hearing, not many people are especially thrilled with this unexpected change), but it's catastrophic for businesses trying to manage their Facebook mail. As you can imagine, Facebook's Message window is no way to access communication from customers.

Thankfully, no matter who you are, it's easy to fix. Just open your Timeline view and click About. Then scroll down to your contact info and click Edit.

Finally, find your Facebook email -- at the top of the window -- and set it to Hidden from Timeline. And since Facebook arbitrarily hid your usual email address, you might want to unhide that and set it back to the privacy level you used to use.

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