Facebook have rolled out a new update on its messaging application, Messenger, giving users the power to ‘unsend’ sent messages using the platform, the tech giant confirmed, Tuesday.
This feature has already been made available by its competitors like Viber and Telegram and the users of the messaging app has consistently asked the company to include an unsend feature in its next updates.
Messages can be removed for individual chats, and group conversations as users can opt to delete a message either just for themselves or for other persons they sent it to, Facebook said. It works when you tap on the message you want to delete within 10 minutes of sending it. Two options will appear: Remove for Everyone and Remove for You. Selecting Remove for Everyone replaces your message with text that the message has been removed by you.
The platform has around 1.3 billion users around the world and is considered one of the most widely used messaging service in the world especially in the U.S. and Asia.
But here’s the catch!
Facebook will hold on to the presumably deleted data for an unannounced length of time citing that the feature is prone to abuse. Facebook said that they are keeping the data in its servers because bullies can use it to send hurtful messages and delete it afterward and claim that there was no evidence of the bullying.
This seems like it is fair. However, based on Facebook‘s privacy records, data stored on Facebook is not as safe as people thought it is. For the past year, Facebook has been the center of a legislative inquiry linked to its possible wiretapping capabilities and its alleged role in selling user data to politicians to be used in elections.
With the new update and with the rule that the company will keep deleted messages in its servers, critics have warned that the database can be used for another data breach.
The unsend function is similar to the ability that CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s account to delete messages he’s sent, as was first reported last April after multiple sources noted that messages they’ve received from the CEO had mysteriously disappeared. When questioned, Facebook confirmed Zuckerberg’s messages expired over time, citing increased security measures after the 2014 Sony Pictures email hacks.
The update is now available in the latest versions released by Facebook today in both iOS and Android. /apr