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Monday, December 6, 2010

Facebook Willing To Access Your Email Accounts For Better Service

One of Facebook’s largest source of new users is the company’s contact importer feature which quickly finds new contacts that you may not be connected to on Facebook. While the company is having an ongoing battle with Google over the contact import feature, the company appears to be testing a new feature to let the engineers add domains by getting access to users’ email accounts.

It’s interesting that Facebook would actually request a user’s email password in order to explore their actual email account. While it makes sense, one of the classic phishing techniques is to ask users to “confirm their password”. Years back, AOL had to include in every email that the company would “never ask you to confirm your password”. While this isn’t exactly the same, it’s interesting that Facebook is actually requesting access to users’ email accounts in order to improve their service.

There’s no doubt that Facebook gains a lot of value by expanding their contact importer to include new domains, as a very large percentage of internet users have custom email address domains outside of AOL, Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, and other large email providers. For now this is being tested among a small group of users, but it would be interesting to know how many external domains Facebook successfully configures for importing contacts. Has Facebook tested this with your account? Would you give Facebook access to your personal email account?

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