The change makes it more difficult for email users to switch away from the embattled company
Yahoo confirmed it has “temporarily” disabled automatic email message forwarding, in a move that has made it more difficult for users to switch to other providers.
The change, which took place at the beginning of October, according to users cited by the Associated Press, follows a high-profile security breach of Yahoo user accounts and the disclosure that the company allowed US intelligence services to scan emails.
Yahoo declined to comment on the feature other than to point to an entry in its help database that says forwarding is “under development”.
“While we work to improve it, we’ve temporarily disabled the ability to turn on Mail Forwarding for new forwarding addresses,” the entry states, adding that the feature will continue to work for users who previously enabled it.
The AP cited several users who said they were planning to stop using Yahoo Mail as a result of the hacking or surveillance incidents, and one who said the timing of the feature change was “suspicious”.
Then, at the beginning of this month, reports citing former Yahoo employees alleged the company last year built a custom surveillance tool for US intelligence services to allow them to scan emails for particular keywords.
A subsequent report alleged the tool could have exposed user accounts to security risks.
Yahoo has faced declining revenues as Internet business models have shifted in favour of rivals such as Google, but remains one of the most widely used sites on the web.
In July the company agreed to be acquired by US telecommunications company Verizon for $4.83 billion (£3.9bn).
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