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Reclaim your hijacked email account in Facebook

(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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