Why you don’t want to link your work email to Facebook

One of the more interesting new features that was introduced in Outlook 2010 was the Outlook Social Connector. For those of you who haven’t used Outlook 2010, it’s basically it’s a small window below the reading pane that collates information about all the people involved in the selected email conversation. As well as mining your Outlook folders for related messages, calendar items, etc., it can also pull in updates from social networks.

If you install the addin that lets it link to Facebook, you’ll see Facebook updates for those people you are friends with on Facebook. Thing is, it will also look up information even for people you aren’t friends with.

Normally you can’t search just by email address on Facebook, but the Outlook Social Connector does just that. It won’t show you anything that you couldn’t see anyway if you found that person on Facebook manually, but it does find them for you, seamlessly, just based on the email address. So if you have your work email registered on your personal Facebook account, your sexually suggestive profile picture will show up at the bottom of the reading pane when you send me an email:

I went and checked this profile on Facebook (purely in the name of research for this article) and can confirm that the profile did not have the person’s email address publicly visible. However, many of this person’s photos were set to public, and the photo album that had a blow-up doll as the album cover did not encourage me to investigate any further. Nor did it encourage me to do business with the person who had emailed me.

Needless to say, our staff AUP has a strong recommendation to refrain from adding a school email address to Facebook.

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About The Angry Technician

The Angry Technician is an experienced IT professional in the UK education sector. Normally found in various states of annoyance on his blog. All views are those of his imaginary pet dog, Howard.

5 responses to “Why you don’t want to link your work email to Facebook”

  1. Ray Fleming says :

    Excellent advice here. My facebook account was setup purely for a demo (of the integrated office web apps), and I’d used my work email address. It was only when I read your article that it jolted me to change it.
    And it’s renewed my vow that I will give my own children a completely new email address for when they are applying for university, jobs etc

    I have the Outlook Social Connector installed, and find it really useful for me to be able to see what other people are doing on LinkedIn – and especially useful to get a profile picture. And because I hadn’t setup the Facebook link, I’d completely missed that other people could.

  2. Luke says :

    Hate to necro a thread but I’m in desperate need of help here – I have a client who’s emails are doing this but we do not want this to happen, I’ve tried disabling the social connector but it doesn’t seem to do anything. does anyone have any Idea how to disable this?! My client explicitly does not want his work emails to give HIS clients a link to his personal facebook.

    • The Angry Technician says :

      Your client needs to remove his work email address from his Facebook account.

      1. Go to Facebook and click the cog in the top-right corner.
      2. Click Account Settings.
      3. Click Email.
      4. Remove the address the client uses for work correspondence.

      If this is the only email address linked to his Facebook, he will need to add a different personal address first and make that the primary address.

  3. Luke says :

    Thanks for the quick reply.
    Despite my client being adamant that he didn’t have his work email included with his facebook you are correct, I actually ended up going on his facebook and doing it myself and lo and behold there was his work email… So it’s been removed and I think it said you have to wait up to 24hrs for it to take effect.
    Thanks for the help, there’s now one less Angry Technician in the world