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Facebook unsend message update: Messenger will finally let people delete messages from chats

Deletion will only be possible for 10 minutes

Andrew Griffin
Tuesday 05 February 2019 16:07 GMT
WhatsApp and Facebook messenger icons are seen on an iPhone in Manchester , Britain March 27, 2017
WhatsApp and Facebook messenger icons are seen on an iPhone in Manchester , Britain March 27, 2017 (Reuters)

Facebook is finally letting people unsend messages they have sent – but there's a catch.

Users will be able to remove messages even after they have been sent on Messenger, just by clicking on delete.

But doing so will only be possible for 10 minutes. After that, the messages will be stuck in the chat forever – no matter how embarrassing or accidental they might be.

The company has long been teasing such a feature, and users have been asking for it for even longer. The feature has turned up in leaks but will now roll out to Android and iOS from today.

The tool is accessed by pressing on a message, which will bring up a series of options that include "forward" and "translate" as well as "remove". Clicking that latter option brings up the choice to delete it just for yourself or for everyone – choosing that then removes it from the chat, leaving only a note that it has been deleted.

Even when messages are deleted, people will have the chance to report abusive ones, Facebook confirmed. There will be an option to report people to avoid users sending then removing harmful messages, for instance.

It mirrors a tool that is available in other apps including Facebook's own WhatsApp. On that app, messages can be deleted for much longer after they are sent, allowing people more than an hour – though it was much shorter initially.

Mark Zuckerberg has also had access to a similar feature for some time. Facebook claims the boss's messages disappear over time to ensure they are kept safing, citing security issues such as the major Sony hack.

But users complained that it appeared to be unfair that only they were given the option of deleting messages after the fact. When it became clear Mr Zuckerberg was receiving special treatment, the company announced he would have limited access to the feature that and that such a tool would be rolled out in the coming months.

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