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Yahoo disables automatic mail forwarding, to make it difficult for users to switch platforms

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Yahoo has recently been on the receiving end of an earful of lewd and harsh comments from enraged customers, who believe that the company has been negligent of its duties and has led to a massive 500 million account breach in 2015 — which it wasn’t aware of until this year. Following this, another grave insight into Yahoo’s operations came to light, which found that the company was illegally scanning user emails and supplying data to U.S intelligence agencies.

Due to the grim outlook of the e-mail provider towards its customers, it is only natural for them to opt out and pick another email provider in favor of Yahoo. But, the company is making it rather difficult for users to move to a rival service by disabling the email forwarding feature which allows users to divert incoming mail from their Yahoo account to the new account they setup.

This development was first reported by Associated Press, who believes that the service has been removed for users who’re now willing to switch platforms after the news of the massive breach. The customers who’ve already setup email forwarding before the confirmation of the breach remain unaffected by the removal of the feature. On the help website of its e-mail platform, Yahoo says,

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.

Ever since the existence of electronic mail in its current form, the option to forward e-mails from one account to another has been a basic concept for every service provider out there. The timing of the unavailability of the feature, as AP mentions, is very suspicious and only points towards Yahoo’s desire to save some of its longtime users from porting to another service.

In addition, British Telecom(BT) who recently outsourced its email services to Yahoo, is now also finding it difficult to leave the platform in wake of the data breach. According to multiple reports, BT Yahoo customers have not only been unable to forward their emails but the ability to delete their accounts has also been disabled for them. They’re now being greeted with an error message reading,

Sorry, the delete feature is currently unavailable. This feature will become available by the end of September.

Seriously!? Some of the most common and required features of an e-mail platform are suddenly under maintainence and would be available sometime soon. This is not fair play on Yahoo’s part, who has sent an explanation to TechCrunch stating,

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.


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