Nearly a year after the controversy created by a TechCrunch report on how Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was able to delete any message sent through Messenger, the company announced on Tuesday (5) that it is releasing the option to delete sent messages for all users of the app.
The “delete” button is not something necessarily new but its operation is not quite an exclusion. When you delete a message, it no longer appears in your Messenger window (the user who requested the deletion). Thus, it is possible to delete any message sent by anyone in a conversation, but only on the screen of who asked to delete that message is deleted, and nothing happens to the other people who participate in the conversation.
With the update, when choosing the “delete” option the user will be taken to a new menu with two options: delete for me (which is the default operation of the button) and delete for all, a new option that will cause the message to be deleted from the conversation, and no participant will be able to view it.
But this option will not work at any time: it will only be possible to delete a message permanently no more than 10 minutes after it has been sent – more than enough time to correct typos or change any words in the text – but after that time, it will exist forever in the conversation and can only be deleted in the old scheme, where it will only disappear from the view of the user who requested the deletion.
But even if the message is deleted by the user, you can still report it to Facebook, which will leave each message stored on your servers for a few days before removing them once and for all, to prevent people from sending threatening and abusive messages to others and then erase them believing they will never get caught.
More and more like WhatsApp
The history of the delete function began in April when a TechCrunch report found that several Facebook employees and non-employees who exchanged messages with Mark Zuckerberg, opening up the history of these conversations, seemed to be talking to themselves – even though notifications via email confirmed that the Facebook CEO had sent messages to them at that date and time – which proved that Zuckerberg had in his personal Messenger a message exclusion tool that was non-existent for all other users. This was just one of the many polemics that helped undermine the good image of Facebook with the public, and since then the company has promised that it would enable this function for all its users.
For now, not all users have access to the feature, and the update of the app is being released gradually so as not to overload the Facebook servers. Within the next few days, the new button will already be enabled for all users of the social network.