Facebook has finally promised the feature that internet users have been pining for — the ability to delete a regretful message from their chat history.
The functionality was originally introduced for Facebook executives in 2014, after Sony Pictures’ email accounts were hacked.
The technology news site TechCrunch reported last April that multiple people who’d received messages from CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed that the messages had been deleted while their own remained.
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“After Sony Pictures’ emails were hacked in 2014, we made a number of changes to protect our executives’ communications,” Facebook told TechCrunch in a statement at the time. “These included limiting the retention period for Mark’s messages in Messenger. We did so in full compliance with our legal obligations to preserve messages,” Facebook told TechCrunch at the time.
Following this report, Facebook announced last year that it would publicly launch the feature for its users, though did not specify a launch date.
As of Tuesday, the ability to delete messages from one’s chat history will be rolling out around the world on iOS and Android.
For up to 10 minutes after a message is sent, users will soon have the option to delete that message from the conversation. To do this, users need only to tap the message once and select “Remove for Everyone.”
Recipients will receive a text alert telling them that something was deleted from the chat, and recipients can still see and read the messages you’ve “unsent” via that notification.
The other option that will appear is “Remove for You,” which only prevents you from seeing the message, but everyone else in the conversation can still view it.
Prior to this announcement, Facebook began 2019 with news of additional changes to its messaging services which would see the infrastructure of its subsidiary apps — Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram — linked to allow messages to be sent across the platforms. The New York Times broke the news two weeks ago.
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While the news received mixed responses, Facebook said in a statement to the media that the discussions were just the beginning of a “long process.”
“We’re working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and family across networks,” a spokesperson told media.
Global News tested the “Remove for Everyone” feature on Messenger and was successfully able to delete a message from its chat history.