People love to freak out over Facebook and Facebook loves to give people reasons to do so. Every Facebook change leads to a whole bunch of people screaming their lungs out over privacy, in one form or another.
They're not exactly sure
what's going on, but they know they don't like it. This time though, it's the other way around, people are livid about Facebook making some info more private.
Granted, Facebook is not entirely innocent here. For a couple of years now, it's been trying to get people to use its email service. Seeing as most people don't even know it exists, it's pretty hard to get them to use it.
Until a couple of months ago, few had enabled their Facebook email addresses. Many hadn't even created vanity URLs, which have been around for a few years now.
Facebook decided it was time to change that and announced in April
that it's going to push people to create vanity URLs (usernames) and will enable the email address automatically for those that have custom usernames.
Facebook announcements have a tendency of either being ignored or exploding. This time it was the former.
Until now, when the announced changes started to roll out, users that had set up vanity URLs had a Facebook address enabled for them.
That's all well and good, but, to make sure people notice, Facebook also made it the default email address displayed as a contact method in the Timeline, for those people that had chosen to display an email address in the Timeline.
The outraged followed, how dare Facebook make their addresses more private and push the new Facebook addresses they may have not even wanted. People exaggerated, as always, but this wasn't Facebook's smartest move.
In any case, for the people that actually want their email address available for everyone to see, changing back is rather trivial Timeline > About > Contact Info > Edit > Emails.
Still, people shouldn't have to do that, take actions to fix things that Facebook broke. But if Facebook had followed this mantra from the get go, it wouldn't be the biggest site on the planet.
Don't expect it to change any time soon and don't rely on Facebook to look out for your privacy. Do it yourself and don't post stuff you really, really wouldn't want some people to find out about.
People that had set up their vanity accounts, email addresses and set up the appropriate privacy settings, for example making all email addresses completely private, have nothing to worry about.
If anything, this is a good example of why you need to take the time and go through all privacy settings, once and for all. Facebook signed a settlement with the FTC so it can't change privacy settings or introduce new ones what default to "less private," they have to notify users beforehand.