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Facebook quietly ditches email service

Facebook's long-forgotten email service is set to shut down next month, though it's unlikely anyone will notice.

Since its launch in late 2010, the "Facebook Mail" function has gone relatively unused, despite being forced upon users in the summer of 2012.

By early March, it will be nothing more than a memory. Facebook confirmed the news, telling us that users will begin receiving notice that the system is changing.

When it launched its "modern messaging system" in 2010, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said the service would transcend email, SMS, and other messaging services. "We tried to make it simple, so that people don't have to think about this stuff," he said at the time.

And that's exactly what happened: no one thought about it for the next four years. In turn, Facebook is moving its focus from the underused email service to a better mobile messaging experience for all users.

Those who still frequent Facebook Mail should expect a notification about the change, which will eventually re-route Facebook emails to the primary email address linked to an account. This time, people will have the option to turn off forwarding.

The move to close the service comes less than two months after Facebook was hit with a lawsuit alleging that the social network meddles with private messages. Two plaintiffs claimed that the site scans messages in an effort to "profile the message-sender's Web activity." Facebook denied the claims and promised to "defend ourselves vigorously."

This news also comes on the heels of the social network giant's acquisition of messaging application WhatsApp. At MWC 2014 in Barcelona, our writer Aatif Sulleyman live blogged a keynote speech where Mark Zuckerberg touched on that landmark deal.