Facebook Messenger will soon let you delete sent messages

Ever sent something you wished you hadn’t on Facebook Messenger? Whether it’s an embarrassing message or an even more embarrassing photo, you’ll soon have up to 10 minutes in which to erase it from the internet forever.

While it’s true that you can already delete messages from Messenger, they only disappear from your own device and not from those who receive it.

The update that will allow you to remove a message from your Messenger chats is “coming soon,” Facebook said this week.

Confirmation of the upcoming feature is contained in the release notes accompanying the latest update for Facebook’s stand-alone messaging app. The final paragraph reads: “Coming soon: Remove a message from a chat thread after it’s been sent. If you accidentally send the wrong photo, incorrect information or message the wrong thread, you can easily correct it by removing the message within ten minutes of sending it.”

Facebook’s other messaging app, WhatsApp, gives you a whole hour to decide if you want to take back a message, so it’s a little surprising that you’ll only have 10 minutes to make a decision with Messenger. Interestingly, when WhatsApp rolled out the feature in 2017, you had a mere 7 minutes to delete it, but the company extended the timeframe to an hour earlier this year.

The feature has actually been available on the Messenger platform for some time, but only for Facebook’s top dogs. The fact came to light in April when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was found to be using it. The company never made it public that it was able to remove sent messages, nor did it inform recipients when it did so, leaving the company open to accusations of breaching user trust. A short while later, Facebook announced plans to launch the functionality for all users of the messaging app.

But take note. The feature does not delay the sending of the message by 10 minutes (which would make for some awkward exchanges in real-time chats), so the recipient has that amount of time to read it, and, if they like, save its contents — in other words, any potential damage could still be done.

On WhatsApp, retracted messages are replaced with a note that says “This message was deleted,” though it’s not yet clear if this will happen in Messenger chats as well.

Facebook recently unveiled a new look for Messenger that also comes with a bunch of new features for the messaging app.

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