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Facebook begins rolling out Messenger 'unsend' feature

Tyrone Stewart
Facebook Messenger Unsend
Facebook/TechCrunch

Facebook has begun rolling out feature which will enable users to remove messages they’ve already sent on Messenger – a feature that was previously reserved only for the social network’s top dogs.

The ‘unsend’ feature first gained attention earlier this year when Facebook was found to have secretly removed messages sent by CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Now, the feature has been made available to all Messenger users on both Android and iOS in Bolivia, Colombia, Lithuania, and Poland, with ‘unsend’ expected to be introduced to other parts of the world in the near future.

With the feature, users have a 10-minute window from when they hit send to delete their messages, but Facebook will keep hold of unsent message for a short period of time just in case they’re reported.

“The pros are that users want to be in control . . . and if you make a mistake you can correct it. There are a lot of legitimate use cases out there that we wanted to enable,” Stan Chudnovsky, head of Messenger at Facebook, told TechCrunch. “[However], we need to make sure we don’t open up any new venues for bullying. We need to make sure people aren’t sending you bad messages and then removing them because if you report them and the messages aren’t there we can’t do anything.”

Both Facebook’s WhatsApp and Instagram apps already give users the ability to unsend messages. Users have one hour to delete messages in WhatsApp, while having an unlimited time to do so in Instagram.

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