Facebook is testing Snapchat-like 'self-deleting' posts feature

The social media site has been testing the feature - giving posts an 'expiration date' - with certain iOS users in New Zealand

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The Independent Tech

Facebook is testing a new feature that lets users create self-deleting posts - similar to the ‘ephemeral’ messaging system popularised by apps like Snapchat.

Users posting to Facebook can select an ‘expiration’ date of between one hour and seven days, after which the post is automatically deleted.

The feature, which was first spotted by The Next Web, is currently running as a “small pilot” for users of the Facebook iOS app, and is currently only available in New Zealand.

Although the pilot only appears to be a small one, it reflects a greater shift in attitudes to social media, with younger demographics especially shying away from semi-permanent services like Facebook and Twitter.

Snapchat, which launched in 2012, has enjoyed phenomenal growth in both the US and abroad, and reportedly rejected a $3bn (£1.8bn) acquisition offer from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in late 2013.

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Facebook – which now boasts just under 1.3 billion users – has also twice tried to replicate Snapchat’s magic formula with its own mobile apps, including the now-defunct Poke and recently-launched Slingshot.

However, despite this apparent interest in keeping posts off the record, it seems Facebook is following a trend rather than its gut.

Privacy experts still criticize the site for keeping more on record than is necessary: The Next Web points out that even posts removed from your profile still stick in the site’s servers for up to 90 days, and study from December last year showed that Facebook even tracks posts that users write but don’t publish.