Facebook is rolling out a new feature to Messenger that allows you to ‘unsend’ that drunken message you shouldn’t have sent to your ex.
The new addition was included in the “coming soon” section of Version 191.0 of the iOS app. Upon reading the release notes, however, you’ll realise there’s a slight catch:
“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 says.
We’ve all been there. Those not-so-flattering selfies, cringe-worthy jokes and probably-one-step-too-far jabs that make you wish you could jump in a Delorean and race back in time to the ill-fated moment you pressed “send”.
But fear not, because you’ll soon have a short, 10-minute window to reclaim your dignity. Of course, you can add credibility to the move by planting doubt in the receiver’s mind.
“What? You’re crazy, I never said that!” you’ll say with conviction.
Until the update comes into effect, users have only been able to delete a message or photo from their end of the message thread; that message would be still visible to the recipient. With this new function, there will be no trace of our social crimes.
If only we had that ability in real life.
Controversially, the feature was previously available only to Facebook executives. Last April, the company was forced to announce it would roll out the functionality to all users after a Techcrunch exposé revealed that for years, Facebook had been quietly and retroactively deleting messages sent by CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other executives over alleged fears of future hacks and data breaches.
“After Sony Pictures’ emails were hacked in 2014 we made a number of changes to protect our executives’ communications. These included limiting the retention period for Mark’s messages in Messenger. We did so in full compliance with our legal obligations to preserve message,” Facebook responded at the time.
The company’s alarming ability to tamper with users’ messages caused huge outrage in the tech community and further deepened the public’s distrust over their privacy practices, especially because the revelation came in the wake of the mammoth Cambridge Analytica scandal.