So long, Facebook email. The social network is quietly shelving its username@facebook email service, and is notifying users that any mail sent there will soon be redirected to their primary account on file. So, if you are jon@facebook and you list jon@gmail as your primary email address, all messages will be forwarded to your Gmail.
If the announcement does not concern you, rest assured you aren’t alone. A Facebook spokesperson says “most people” have not been taking advantage of the feature. Facebook launched its email platform in November 2010 as part of an effort to consolidate its Messenger system; an email address made the social network’s users accessible to people who chose not to have a Facebook account. “There are no subject lines, no cc, no bcc, and you can send a message by hitting the Enter key,” wrote Facebook at the time. “We modeled it more closely to chat and reduced the number of things you need to do to send a message.”
The general idea was to transform Facebook into a frictionless, do-it-all communication platform where users could email, chat directly with friends, or post status updates. Facebook pushed it hard, too: In 2012, it caused a bit of controversy when it made users’ @facebook.com address their primary, public-facing email by default. It did not go over well.
And yet, Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp makes it abundantly clear that the social network continues to be very serious about mobile messaging, email or otherwise.