Today Facebook announced that it is giving users the option to receive updates from Facebook applications in their email. This would work similar to how email notifications do, but don't worry, you have to opt in for developers to be able to email you. According to Facebook, they will not be able to access your email address without your consent.
"You can now use the rules and routing mechanisms of your email inbox to control how you communicate with applications," says Faecbook's Arun Vijayvergiya. "This email option is one of a number of upcoming changes we announced in October to give you a faster and more connected experience when interacting with external applications on Facebook. You will soon start to see dialog boxes on application pages from external developers asking you if you would like to receive communication about their applications through your primary email address."
If you do sign up to receive emails from any application, you can also unsubscribe, as each email will have an "unsubscribe" link. However, if you unsubscribe, and the application doesn't comply with your request Facebook suggests you report it to the FTC. That said, they do offer the option to report applications for violating guidelines on the application pages themselves. It is unclear if this will be effective for general email spamming.
"Some applications may require an email address in order to use their service, in the same way that websites might when you sign up for them," says Vijayvergiya. "In all cases, you will have the option to click the 'change' link in the dialog box and share an anonymous version of your email address, called a proxied email address. You can always choose to stop using an application or use a different application instead if you don't want to receive emails from a particular application."
Facebook says developers will be held to the "highest" guidelines to help prevent spam, misleading info, and malicious intent, but the company still encourages the use of caution when communicating with apps.
As for future updates, Facebook will also soon start showing the option to receive notifications in new places. There will be a feature called "Counters" that will appear next to bookmarked apps on the user's home page. There will also be new apps and games dashboards where users will be able to get app updates. Users will also soon no longer receive updates from apps in the notifications channel on Facebook.