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Facebook’s long-promised ‘unsend’ feature arrives. Here’s how to use it


Facebook Messenger just got takebacks. A long-promised option to delete messages inside Messenger begins rolling out on Tuesday, February 5, the company said. The update allows users to unsend a message up to 10 minutes after sending that message, for both individual and group chats.

Facebook promised the unsend feature after an investigative report revealed that CEO and creator Mark Zuckerberg deleted some of his own sent messages. Following the report, Facebook said that they would bring the option to unsend a message to all users.

The tool can help retract typos, messages sent to the wrong person and other errors, if they are caught in time. Of course, unsend doesn’t mean unseen, but the quickest unsends might not be seen on the other side of the conversation.

Messenger previously allowed users to delete messages so they wouldn’t see them in their own feed, but the recipient could still see the message. Now the delete option includes “remove for everyone” as well as the choice to “remove for you” if you don’t want to see the message but don’t mind everyone else still having access.

So how do you take back something you just sent on Messenger? Tapping and holding the message will bring up both that emoji response window, as well as options at the bottom of the screen to copy, forward or remove the message. Tap remove and, if the message was sent less than 10 minutes ago, choose the remove for everyone option from the menu.

Taking back a message isn’t going to go unnoticed, however. Facebook says the other users in the conversation will get a text alert saying that a comment was removed. A placeholder noting that a message was removed will also be stuck in the portion of the conversation where the message was eliminated from. Users can still report messages after they’ve been removed.

Messenger needs to be updated before the feature is available, however. Facebook says that the update is beginning to roll out worldwide on both iOS and Android apps. The update started a slow rollout to some countries at the end of last year.

While the feature was prompted in part by the report indicating Zuckerberg deleted old messages, the new tool is a bit different from what sparked the update in the first place. In a statement from Facebook, the company said that the messages were deleted with a tool to limit “the retention period” for security reasons. The new tool, however, doesn’t ditch old messages but allows users to retract the newest messages.

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