PhotoGood news for Facebook users: Facebook has finally succumbed to reality and will soon be phasing out its wildly unpopular Facebook email system.

For those of you unfamiliar with Facebook, here's how things worked before the advent of Facebook email (and hopefully/presumably how things will work again): when you register for Facebook, you use an already-existing email address to do so — say, JaneDoe@email.com.

Then, people who see you on Facebook and wish to contact you privately (as opposed to posting a publicly visible note on your “Wall”) have two options: they can send you a message over Facebook's private messaging system, or through your regular email.

Then Facebook decided to introduce its email system: instead of emails landing in your JaneDoe@email.com inbox, they were shunted into the brand-new email account JaneDoe@Facebook.com, and any emails landed in your Facebook private-messaging system.

Really annoying

From Jane Doe's perspective, this was annoying on two levels: one, if she wants to read all of her emails, she has to log in to Facebook in addition to checking her email.com account.

Even worse, Facebook's messaging system has two layers, and most Facebook users only know about one: your official “Messages” box contains private messages (or Facebook.com emails) sent by your official “Facebook friends.” But messages from anyone else were shunted into a different folder, called “Other.”

(Relevant personal anecdote: my own Facebook account was a couple years old before I knew about the “Other” folder, and I might still be unaware of it had I not read this circa-2011 article in Slate, from a writer furious to discover that some extremely important personal messages had languished unread in her “Other” folder. A worse horror story unfolded in Georgia last year, when a mother in Clayton County went a whole month without knowing her missing son had been murdered – police used Facebook to let her know, and the message sat unread in her “Other” folder.)

Such little kinks still exist in Facebook's private messaging system, but this week, finally, the company announced that it was ending its ill-fated @Facebook.com email experiment: by March, Jane Doe's default email address will once again be JaneDoe@email.com, not JaneDoe@Facebook.com

The blog InsideFacebook.com reported on Feb. 24 that Facebook was doing away with its “unpopular” email service due to “lack of participation.”

Oddly enough, the mainstream media news reports about the closing were often more tongue-in-cheek than the commentary from the blogosphere. For example, when North Carolina TV station and website MyFox8.com shared the news with its readers, the story started by asking “Check your Facebook mail lately? Didn’t think so. Apparently not many others did, either.”

If your tastes run more toward understatement, you'll prefer this quote from the Venture Capital Post: “There probably won't be any lost tears over this change for many users.”


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