Facebook says bug caused wrong contact syncing on some users’ phones

A contact synchronization bug, combined with Facebook’s latest changes to users’ email visibility settings, led some mobile phones to update with users’ Facebook.com addresses rather than their primary email account, Facebook Director of Engineering Andrew Bosworth told The Verge.

The social network is working on a fix following a public debacle over a change to users’ settings that hid all non-Facebook.com email addresses from Timeline. This was the result of a new “visibility setting” introduced last month. The “visibility setting” is an additional option next to the existing “privacy setting.” Facebook representatives have been trying to distinguish the difference between these settings to the press for the past week, but the company continues to receive criticism for the change and the lack of communication about it to users.

When we learned about the confusing new setting last week, we wondered whether it was meant to promote the social network’s own messaging feature over third-party email services, or if it was a move to prevent users’ contact information from being misused. Facebook still hasn’t said why it made the change.

Nonetheless, the decision affected mobile contact syncing for some users because the API was pulling users’ most recently added account rather than their primary email address. This meant that some email addresses were replaced with facebook.com addresses, and users were missing messages that were routed to their Facebook “other” folder rather than getting emails where they initially indicated they wanted them sent. Facebook says this will be resolved soon.

Readers might want to check their “other” folder by visiting Facebook on the web or their phone and going to “messages.” On the web, the “other” folder is accessible from the left-hand menu. On mobile devices, it is at the bottom of the screen. Users can change their settings to show or hide particular email addresses by visiting their Timeline, clicking “about,” going to the “contact” info section and clicking “edit.”

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