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How to Fix Facebook's Email Switcheroo

Don't look now, but Facebook just disabled your primary email address in favor of your Facebook address. Here's how to undo that change.

One of the reasons there's so much animosity toward Facebook is that the service frequently makes changes without notifying users -- and not always for the better.

For example, you know that email address that appears on your profile, the one you make visible to your Facebook friends and/or potential friends? You may discover, as I just did, that Facebook has hidden that address, replacing it with the @facebook.com email address you were assigned when the network rolled out its mail service.

Why would Zuckerberg and Co. make such a change? I guess in an effort to make Facebook's email services more visible, more relevant. Whatever the case, I'm thinking thanks, but no thanks.

Here's how you can undo this unwanted change:

1. Open Facebook in your browser, then head to your profile/Timeline (by clicking your name).

2. Under your photo, click About.

3. Scroll down until you find the Contact Info box. Assuming this change has affected your account the way it affected mine, you'll see a Facebook.com mail address. Click Edit.

4. Next to your primary mail address, you'll see a circle with a slash through it. Mouse over it and you should see a pop-up: "Hidden from Timeline." Click that, then choose Shown on Timeline.

5. If you want, you can also mouse over that same area next to your Facebook address, click it, and choose Hidden from Timeline. That's the second half of fully undoing what's been done--though there's no real harm in leaving your Facebook address visible.

6. Click the Save button when you're done with your changes.

Now, one could argue that this email switcheroo would help cut down the amount of Facebook-related messaging that lands in your inbox. That's fine, but Facebook needs to offer the option to users, not just implement it without warning or explanation.

The whole thing brings to mind Arrested Development's Gob Bluth: Come on!

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at hasslefree@pcworld.com, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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