Thanks for the clarification. I'd say as long as it was clear that a message was going to be sent, then a the "Who would you vouch for?" context actually makes the recommendation less inappropriate and puts FD even more in the right.
(Of course, there is still the questionable practice of writing such an enthusiastic endorsement in the first person, but again you had final veto powers on the wording and you opted in to it. Such practices are unfortunately "par for the course" nowadays.)