Facebook will only give users 10 minutes to unsend a message

Brittany A. Roston - Nov 7, 2018, 4:09 pm CST
Facebook will only give users 10 minutes to unsend a message

Facebook users have anticipated a Messenger “unsend” feature for months, but the company still hasn’t provided one. The feature was promised very shortly after a report revealed that Facebook had removed some of Mark Zuckerberg’s messages from other users’ inboxes, an ability that’s not available to ordinary users. Though that’s about to change, the unsend option isn’t quite what users had expected.

Back in April, TechCrunch reported that Facebook had deleted some of Zuckerberg’s old messages from recipients’ inboxes. In a statement, Facebook had claimed that it removed the messages after a certain period of time for security purposes. Impacted users weren’t notified when the messages were removed and Facebook had never disclosed the practice publicly.

The same message deletion feature didn’t apply to regular users, though, whose old messages will remain in other users’ inboxes for many years. Users were unhappy about what they viewed as special privileges given only to Facebook execs, and only a day later the company announced that it would release an “unsend” feature for users, as well.

Several months of mostly silence have passed and the feature is still not available. However, a preview of changes arriving in the next Messenger update reveals that the “unsend” feature will be arriving in the near future…and it’ll only give users ten minutes to change their mind. This is compared to the hour WhatsApp users have to unsend a message.

Facebook describes the unsend feature as a way to correct a mistake, which is a bit different than scrubbing old messages from someone else’s inbox. The feature will be useful for fixing a typo or re-sending the correct image, but not for anything beyond that. The tool also requires the user to notice the mistake quickly and change it.

This is different from deleting a message in a Messenger chat log. Though users have long been able to press on a message to get a delete option, that only deletes it from the user’s side, not the recipient’s. It’s unclear whether a user will be alerted when someone unsends a message, but everyone should have access to try it soon. Screenshots of the new option leaked last month.

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