Facebook continued to dig itself a bigger hole Monday, as users continued to complain about lost email messages and how the company was handling its complaints.
As we reported yesterday, some users complained that they were missing messages and that their mobile phone address books had been updated to replace primary email addresses with the @facebook.com email address that was set as the default address in all user profiles.
Facebook conceded that the mobile device problem was a bug that its engineers were working to fix. But it blamed the lost messages on “user confusion,” saying messages that did not come from your friends were filed under a separate inbox folder.
Fast forward to late last night when, in an email message, a spokesperson for Facebook seemed to back off that position, saying that if you have elected to only receive messages from friends and friends-of-friends, messages may bounce back to the sender. And if those bouncebacks get caught in the sender’s email spam filter, then it could indeed appear as if the messages were lost.
“We've noticed that in a very limited number of cases, the bounce email back to the original sender may not be delivered because it may get intercepted by spam filters,” the spokesperson said. “We are working to make sure that email senders consistently receive bounce messages.”
In other words, contrary to what spokesperson Meredith Chin told us Sunday, Facebook is indeed intercepting user email. And that, coupled with Facebook’s unwillingness to admit that it messed up, has resulted in a flood of user outrage.
Contact Synchronization Problems Will Be Fixed “Soon”
Facebook did own up to the problem that had users complaining that address books and contact lists on their mobile devices had been overwritten to change email addresses to the @facebook.com address.
“For people on certain devices, a bug meant that the device was pulling the last email address added to the account rather than the primary email address, resulting in @facebook.com addresses being pulled,” the spokesperson said. “We are in the process of fixing this issue and it will be resolved soon. After that, those specific devices should pull the correct addresses.”
Facebook did not specify what devices were affected. We’ve asked them for clarification and will update this post as soon as we hear back from them.