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Facebook Messenger tips hat to Snapchat, tests vanishing messages feature

Facebook messenger
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Snapchat’s disappearing message act might be more popular than we think. Facebook is currently testing a similar feature in its Messenger app for iOS, allowing you to send messages that later disappear.

With privacy-related encryption features currently taking over messaging apps, including Facebook’s WhatsApp and Viber, this could be the social network’s own take on the in-demand function for its hugely popular chat service.

The feature was previously spotted in France, and was later confirmed by Facebook. This time round, it has made its way to the U.S., meaning an update could be imminent.

Twitter tech account iOSAppChanges first spotted the test feature, and tweeted out screenshots of it in action. As was the case in France, it seems users can switch the feature on and off in the app by tapping an hourglass icon.

#Messenger disappearing messages feature (68.0 iOS version) @WABetaInfo pic.twitter.com/dPSCyuNeoF

— iOSAppChanges (@iOSAppChanges) May 1, 2016

An additional function included in this test phase is the ability to select several options in regards to when your messages will disappear. In the past, this was reportedly limited to one hour, but now also includes 1 minute, 4 hours, and 1 day.

Although the previous test was reportedly also available on Android, this new update has thus far only been spotted on iOS, reports VentureBeat.

More screenshots about disappearing messages (and shared links section).
Thanks @Geek_Break.@WABetaInfo #Messenger pic.twitter.com/MDWjsqdhID

— iOSAppChanges (@iOSAppChanges) May 1, 2016

Commenting on the limited, France-centric roll-out in November of last year, a Facebook spokesperson stated: “Disappearing messages give people another fun option to choose from when they communicate on Messenger. We look forward to hearing people’s feedback as they give it a try.”

The feedback was evidently positive enough for it to be tested elsewhere and expanded. The feature is a move that directly takes aim at Snapchat, one of the platform’s biggest competitors. While Snapchat’s user base is dwarfed by Facebook and its Messenger app, the chat application rivals the social media giant in terms of video views, with users of the ephemeral messaging app watching ten billion videos daily.

Christina Majaski
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Christina has written for print and online publications since 2003. In her spare time, she wastes an exorbitant amount of…
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