Most of us vaguely noticed that Facebook gave us an email service, few of us used it and with that, as Facebook now quietly shuts down said email service, the company goes full speed ahead with WhatsApp.
We all probably, vaguely, remember suddenly being allocated an @facebook.com email address back in November 2010. If shared with friends and family, the emails deriving from said email address would end up in our inbox, along with any other instant messaging or SMS messages.
Apparently at that time, Facebook’s founder, the mega-rich Mark Zuckerberg, had been criticizing traditional email services as being way too slow and formal for what he termed the “next web generation.” Well, it seems said “next web generation” actually found it a total waste of time and hardly anybody really used it. It seems the icon of social media doesn’t know everything after all.
On top of the fact that hardly anyone actually used the service, Facebook got into a little trouble back in 2012 when they apparently replaced users’ actual published email addresses on their profile with their new @facebook.com email. This was simply not on, apparently, and they reversed their decision pretty quickly.
Now Facebook is quietly shelving the project and will be taking away that @facebook.com email address from all and sundry on the social media website with effect from early March this year.
If you are one of the few that is actually using the email service, no panic is necessary as any email messages sent to that address will simply be forwarded to the email address you provided Facebook on signup with them. The email address will also, apparently, become “read only”, so users will still be able to view the conversation, they just won’t be able to reply directly from Facebook messages.
So as Facebook shuts down said redundant email service, what else are they up to and “WhatsApp” with that latest expensive acquisition of theirs?
Not backwards in coming forwards, so to speak, Facebook has, of course, just spent $19 billion getting its sweaty hands on the messaging service, WhatsApp. The app is a popular one which allows its users to send both text and pictures to friends as an ongoing chat process. WhatsApp has, of course, had people glued to their screens for some time now and apparently will shortly even be introducing voice calls.
It seems that Zuckerberg has been attending the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week. At that event he mentioned that now they have WhatsApp, another popular smart phone app that they were after, SnapChat, was “no longer a priority.” Facebook had originally targeted the app with a $3 billion takeover bid, but now it is not quite what they wanted, it seems. Also Zuckerberg did mention that they were “probably done for a while” on the acquisitions side of things, having spent that huge $19 billion on their latest toy.
On the subject of WhatsApp, it seems Zuckerberg is trying to connect the entire world. He mentioned at the congress that “most people” worldwide don’t have an internet connection, saying that “dramatic changes” were necessary in the industry to change this.
However, don’t think the man is now getting all philanthropic and caring for the poor people of the world. There is financial method in his madness, of course. He was heard to say at the congress that the social media company’s aim is actually to make it easier for everyone to share information, meaning the more sharing that goes on in the world, the more ads Facebook can actually sell.
So we see them shutting down the controversial email service, which paid them pretty much zero bucks, and concentrating on WhatsApp and all the wonderful things Facebook is able to do with their expensive purchase to both sell you, and also blast you with, yet more advertising.
By Anne Sewell