One of the most frustrating things for me as an engineer at Sun early on was bouncing some whiz bang idea off Bill Joy only to get one of his one line zinger 'but that breaks X' type replies. Always annoying but often right as he would take what was proposed, extrapolate two, three, or a half dozen steps and then point out the now 'obvious' flaw.
I'm a strong believer in confining Windows to a fixed set of resources -- i.e., a VM with fixed memory and disk space. This incident, though I don't seem to be directly impacted (checked contacts, account settings, etc), Facebook has crossed that line into Windows equivalency for me. It needs to be confined where possible.
Mobile app deleted on all my iOS devices and FB account disassociated on my WP7 device (most used for testing).
The problem is not limited to engineering. I have often had to push back with product guys responding to feature requests from users to address edge cases.
The trouble with doing so in social networks is that the potential for the law of untended consequences to strike is much greater in it as it is nearly impossible to test for every permutation and combination available.
> Today Facebook also admitted that its API for contact sync on phone and device apps was set -- on which devices and systems we're not told -- to take an individual's most recently added e-mail address and overwrite their correct contact e-mail in everyone's address books with the new e-mail.
>> Since Facebook changed the email addresses on contacts, I've actually lost every single one of my email addresses including those for work.
From this article it sounds like actual data loss occurred on some address books, where non-facebook.com email addresses were permanently deleted from contacts. For those people who don't have a backup of their address books, it might now be impossible to recover those lost email addresses.
Isn't this more worrisome than any issues around how Facebook handles incoming messages?
But this, this is real, and worrisome, and it has done real damage, and it will be damn hard if not impossible to reverse.
If they're going the extra mile to copy and paste your e-mail address, chances are they want you to e-mail you, and not send you something through facebook.
Aside from the simple fact that not everyone has the same notification settings, it's already been shown that facebook has been losing people's e-mails. No notifications, no nothing, just gone.
In no possible way is this better.
I really don't mean to trash FB as a lot of good people work there. However... when I read about something like this, and then I see a company like Google figuring out a time smear function to seamlessly account for a leap second in their servers to avoid cascading system changes... it's hard to feel the two companies are functioning on the same level. (I know, a mis-balanced and irrelevant comparison, but it's just for a 'gut feeling' sense)
If so: Facebook have taken private data and placed it in a central location
If not: it isn't a rollback that I understand
Disclaimer: I'm not a programmer
I would guess the only thing they can't undo would be the time that has passed. If any data Facebook ever had on any of their users (such as their primary email address [edit: at any point in time]) was ever lost, they wouldn't have as much to sell to their customers!
Read me blathering on further about this: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4192299
Rolling back the change won't get people's time or email back, or undo the damage to facebook's reputation.
As I pointed out elsewhere, they can just forward the email to the intended address as an unwelcome MTA, so I disagree with your statement that they can't get people's email back. I agree on the time and reputation points though. However, I don't think any rollback has ever gotten those back, so 'rollback impossible' because it can't do what any rollback has ever done seems disingenuous.
Just restore from your last iCloud or Device backup.
This is certainly within the realm of possibility and indicates that you hold the team's technical ability in high regard. If it is indeed true, I would wonder what percentage of the folks involved in the implementation actually thought about it and how high/wide the issue was escalated. I have certainly been in situations where after-the-fact I found out that something I had been a part of shipped with known bugs/features I didn't know about that I would have raised a lot more concern over.
If you've never worked someplace where they have dedicated staff for source control, that fact alone might give you an idea at the level of expertise involved here. It's nobody's first time at the rodeo, and setting the sync API on the change (as described below) wasn't just slipped in by an intern.
You finding out after-the-fact and still having an opinion about bugs shipping in code you contributed to only reinforces my point: someone made the decision to go ahead anyway.
Sorta makes you wish Google would stop chasing Facebook and just do their thing.
Google cannot allow other companies to get ahead of them on social search and remain competitive in their most important vertical.
a) Associate your phone number with your FB account.
b) Download the FB app.
The more you can keep Facebook sandboxed on your devices (and in your life) the better.
Facebook gets an email address I don't use anywhere else. No one has me listed in their contacts under the only email address facebook knows for me (well, I presume. It's not hard to guess the address I use for facebook if you know my real address, but there's no good reason anyone but facebook would use it).
I've done that on general principle for more than a decade any time I have to give my email address to anyone other than an individual. This instance is the first time in a while where it's actually felt worthwhile. Originally I did it more for spam tracking. GMail's excellent spam filter fixed that problem for me years ago. But I never stopped doing it.
And I'll also add:
d) Never associate your real name with your FB account.
I use my first name plus a family name that matches my middle initial. It's generally recognizable and accepted by friends.
When I first set up my account this way (items A through D) it did seem a little "tinfoilly", and this last measure still does to some extent. But since Facebook doesn't actually let you delete your account, I'd rather err on the side of prudence. It will be nice to at least approximate a hole in their databases if their policies ever get too onerous.
Basically, just don't use the app.
Lastly, if they were truly going to fix the problem, they would pump through all the emails they got a chance to spy on, this time to the correct address, maybe with an attachment or sending the email as an attachment with their official apology.
Can't rollback the delay and that impacts a lot, but email is theoretically unreliable anyway. Hurry up guys and gals... show me someone at Facebook actually cares about the product (their users) they are selling to their customers (their advertisers).
This mistake/bug/zuck-style enhancement has had a colossal negative impact on many people. If Facebook tries to salvage anything from it then it's even more clearly time to walk away. I am not cheerleading for Facebook at all on this, I just want people's contacts back to normal and their emails delivered to where they want them. I think we agree this is possible, in fairly direct contradiction to the title of this article.
Thanks for bringing this up as it would not work if they only push changes, and no change had been made facebook-side prior to the 'bug'. In that case, they should only rollback those that had been pushed out and the majority of email addresses would be lost. However, since users can go into the settings and restore their primary email address, it seems like it would be best for Facebook to encourage them to do so in the same way they've nagged me to switch to timeline forever.
Its the same thing with things like internet censorship. Every one bleats on and on, and they just do it any way.
Facebook have always wanted to replace the internet entirely with a system they control. Hence the walled garden approach with incessant prompts to signup to view content, the use of address book import to spread virally, the use of beacon to track and announce users activities, the use of like button js to track activity, the launch of Facebook apps and single sign-on to attempt to corral web developers within their ecosystem and make them dependent, the launch of a competitor to email/IM etc etc.
This latest move with email is simply the latest in a long line of moves consistently attempting to steer users into spending all of their online time within the confines of Facebook, it is entirely consistent with their past behaviour and we should expect similar moves in future.
So the arguments about how they could have done this differently, or whether Facebook has made some mistakes here are largely irrelevant - they will always push to own your data, email, photos, and digital life, because it's in their DNA, this is not a mistake, it's a pattern of behaviour - they can and will control your digital life if you choose to hand it over to them. Consider the quote from FB on the way their FB email works:
Regarding the "email loss" this may actually just be confusion around the Messages Inbox: By default, messages from friends or friends of friends go into your Inbox. Everything else goes to your Other folder.
All messages which do not come from FB contacts go into a folder which is effectively a junk folder - they want you to use their email for everything (hence the recent changes), they want your address book to contain nothing but FB contacts, they want you to forget email even existed, and they want you to encourage your friends to join FB so that you actually receive their messages. That won't work for all their users of course, but their hope is that they keep enough of the user base on board that they can dominate the internet and replace email with FB and the web with a network of sites where they control login and user info and all roads lead to FB.
So replacing email with FB mail wherever they can, hiding other contacts and trashing user address books is not a mistake, it's part of a broader strategy, one which is not in the best interests of their users, but which they hope most will go along with anyway.
I'm on an iPhone now, and know that iOS6 will give users the same option ... to link your device w/ Facebook ... sucking in all your "FB friends". I won't be enabling that feature, and while the software apparently indicates you can disable this part of the connectivity, I'm reluctant to even link it for fear that it'll immediately hose my contacts in a way that requires me to manually clean out that kid I went to middle-school with many years ago.
And make it all uber-personal because they know their full name AND all their friend's names AND what they liked AND their hometown AND the college they went to, etc, etc,. That's a spammer's wet dream.
Don't get me wrong, this is a horrible move by facebook, but spam isn't the reason why.
I very much doubt that. Statistically no one will leave FBook over this.
If that's really true, it's very unsettling. If this doesn't trip a significant number of users' "not worth it" detectors, what would?
Then I changed my email address back to what I want it to be, and I have ceased caring. I will continue using facebook to coordinate bar meetups with my friends.
I've always had a very healthy mistrust of facebook, based on their past actions, and I never let facebook sync up with anything else I use (and I don't use services that only authenticate via facebook). They simply can't be trusted with anything important; not because they are incompetent, but because they have no moral compass that prevents them from screwing users over.
This is just one more reason for me to continue to silo facebook off into its own world, where it knows nothing about the rest of my life, particularly the really important stuff.
You're the product. You're inventory.
Frankly, I didn't trust them much before: I'm sure they were mining it, which is not something I would explicitly consent to. However, now I no longer trust them to not break it, so I've removed their access to it entirely.
When you upset your users, you drive them away. They use your product less, and associate with you negatively.
The more this happens, the more people stop posting and sharing, and everyone simply stops using the site.
Remember most people on MySpace didn't delete their accounts, they just stopped using the service.
All of this could lead people to use FB less, which is is exactly the opposite of what they were intending.
I'm trying to find a way to get Facebook to send me an e-mail notification when I receive a message that goes into "Other", the same way it sends me an e-mail notification when I receive a message that goes into "Inbox".
But I can't find any option for this anywhere. Does anyone know? Otherwise, how am I ever supposed to know I have a message from someone on Facebook who I'm not already friends with?!
So how can you make sure you find your lost laptop, appear on Israeli TV, and respond immediately to job offers? Unfortunately, the Facebook rep informed me, you can’t change your settings to get email notifications for your Other messages, the way you can for your main messages. Your best bet: Make checking the Other tab part of your daily Facebook routine.
So since I never log into Facebook, but use it as a place to receive messages, which I find out about via e-mail... I am doomed to never find out about possibly important messages from people who are not already my Facebook friends.
This is possibly the worst design decision I've ever come across on the Internet. Facebook has created a black hole for messages. Even when you log into Facebook, it doesn't show a number next to "Other", so you can't even find out if you have messages there without navigating to the "Other" page.
I can't wrap my mind around how insanely stupid this is. WTF, Facebook?
 : http://seleniumhq.org/
Is this really appropriate use of the word "intercepting"? Typically intercepting carries a negative meaning -- like "the FBI is intercepting my postal mail and opening it before it reaches me". However, with their use of the word, every email I send is "intercepted" by multiple servers before it reaches its destination....
To continue stretching your analogy, I could claim that the post office x-ray/bomb scanners are 'intercepting' mail sent to me when in fact it is an understood part of the process to anyone who cares enough to research how things work. Someone moving my mailbox [edit: filling out a 'change of address'] and photocopying everything sent there is pretty clearly a reasonable use of the word 'intercepting'.
My suggestion, don't use the very first beta release of a operating system on anything important. Digital darwinism at work there.
What's the lesson there?
The point is that facebook needs to understand that "Move fast, and break things" is an appropriate approach in the earlier phases, but it is quite incompatible with later phases, when people start to rely on a service.
Our governments are treating our emails more and more like real mail (aka. letters).
Is there not a law prohibiting third party people or companies to mess with(fake) my mail addresses?
Fact is, I do not want a facebook email address. And I have given no consent for my email address to be changed.