Yahoo Disables Automatic Email Forwarding After Negative Press

Published: October 11, 2016 9:24 PM /



Some users have decided to ditch Yahoo's email service following a couple of negative stories. In late September, it was revealed that 500 million Yahoo accounts were breached, giving hackers access to personal data like real names and addresses. At the beginning of October, it was reported that the company was automatically scanning all incoming emails for specific strings of characters at the behest of intelligence agencies. Following these stories, the Associated Press(AP) reports that Yahoo has now disabled automatic email forwarding.

AP spoke with several users who were planning to jump ship from Yahoo and switch to another email provider. The lack of automatic email forwarding will make the transition more frustrating. Brian McIntosh, who first alerted AP to the issue, draws a parallel to forwarding postal mail when a person moves to a new home and considers forwarding email to be just as important. He considers email forwarding to be "a basic concept for 15 years for just about every email provider out there." He also states that it seems "extremely dubious" to him that the email forwarding is taken offline following the negative press.

Jason Danner, a Yahoo user for 18 years, is now planning to switch to another provider. Danner considers the timing of email forwarding being disabled to be "extremely suspicious." Another user, Merissa Silk, has decided to ditch Yahoo following the recent negative coverage. To deal with the lack of email forwarding, she set up an out-of-office message for her Yahoo account, which will inform anyone sending her email what her new account is.

Under its help section, Yahoo states that the email forwarding is just temporarily unavailable because it is under development. It states, "Automatic forwarding sends a copy of incoming messages from one account to another. This feature is under development. While we work to improve it, we've temporarily disabled the ability to turn on Mail Forwarding for new forwarding addresses. If you've already enabled Mail Forwarding in the past, your email will continue to forward to the address you previously configured." Initially the company declined to give any other comment and simply pointed news outlets to the help section. However, Yahoo eventually gave a statement to TechCrunch. The statement reads:

We’re working to get auto-forward back up and running as soon as possible because we know how useful it can be to our users. The feature was temporary disabled as part of previously planned maintenance to improve its functionality between a user’s various accounts. Users can expect an update to the auto-forward functionality soon. In the meantime, we continue to support multiple account management.
Is Yahoo trying to prevent people from leaving, or is it just a coincidence that automated email forwarding is suddenly unavailable? Leave your comments below.

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I’m a technology reporter located near the Innovation District of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.