Facebook is launching an “unsend” feature in Messenger more than 10 months after it promised to do so after it was discovered surreptitiously removing messages sent by Mark Zuckerberg from their recipients’ inboxes.
It works when you tap on the message you want to delete within 10 minutes of sending it. Two options will appear: Remove for Everyone and Remove for You. Selecting Remove for Everyone replaces your message with text that the message has been removed by you.
The company stopped using the secret feature, which it said it had built “to protect our executives’ communications”, when it was discovered in April 2018, and promised not to delete messages again until it could make “a broader delete message feature available”.
A similar approach is taken in WhatsApp, Facebook’s other messaging service, where all conversations are end-to-end encrypted by default.
In January, it was reported that Facebook is considering merging the technical functions of Messenger and WhatsApp, as well as Instagram Direct Messages, to let people send messages between the three services.
Such a merger would be a logistical challenge, since the three services each have hundreds of millions of users and run on different principles, but it could allow Facebook to increase the use of its messaging services – and make it harder for regulators to force the company to spin off any given subsidiary to promote competition.