Facebook has finally followed through with plans to give users the ability to unsend messages, a feature it promised after Facebook admitted it had deleted CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s messages from recipients’ inboxes.
The remove message feature isn’t quite like the self-destruct feature Facebook manages for Zuckerberg. It deletes his messages in recipients’ inboxes after a set period of time.
With the new Facebook Messenger app, users have “up to 10 minutes” to remove a message for everyone on a chat.
After the 10 minutes is up, users will only be able to remove a message from their own chat, which leaves it visible to everyone else in the chat.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp already offers a similar time-capped ‘delete for everyone’ feature however users can do this for “about an hour” after a message was sent.
Facebook said its decision to make Zuckerberg’s messages self-destruct was motivated by the Sony Pictures hack in 2014, after which executives’ emails were leaked to the public.
Facebook’s PR said at the time it limited the retention period of the CEO’s messages in “full compliance with our legal obligations to preserve messages”.
Still, the discovery that Zuckerberg had an exclusive unsend ability didn’t look good for a company already embroiled in a public trust crisis over Cambridge Analytica, the British political consultancy that got its hands on 87 million Facebook users’ data through a Facebook quiz app.
Back then, Facebook Messenger users could only delete messages in their own chats, but messages to others remained in their chats.
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