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Facebook starts rolling out Messenger's 'unsend' feature

There are more advanced message control features on the way, too.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
November 14, 2018
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Facebook didn't take long to roll out Messenger's unsend feature, although it may be a while before you have the option of correcting missteps in your part of the world. Unsending is now available in Messenger's Android and iOS apps in Bolivia, Colombia, Lithuania and Poland, with promises it will be available in other countries as soon as it's possible. The functionality is the same wherever you go, at least. You'll have up to 10 minutes to retract a message, with a marker telling others where the ex-message was. Facebook will keep unsent messages for a short amount of time in order to prevent harassers from using the option to cover their tracks.

This isn't the end to Facebook's plans, either. The company is planning more unsend features that might include setting expiration dates for unencrypted messages or entire conversation threads. You might not have to keep an outdated party planning chat in your conversation list, and you could automatically purge your backlogs if you're worried about someone peeking at your old discussions.

There are potential cynical reasons for adding an unsend option. It could help execs keep conversations secret (Mark Zuckerberg learned this when 2004 chats leaked out), and might reduce liability -- investigators can't read messages that don't exist. Even so, it's a helpful nod to user control over data from a company that is still learning what its users really want.

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