Facebook just can't seem to do anything right lately.
TechCrunch has revealed that Facebook, the company, quietly deletes messages that its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has sent out in the past via Messenger, which means the executive has the ability to retract messages. Facebook's billions of users don't have access to this type of "unsend" feature. So, now, among other things, Facebook's facing criticism for appearing to give special privileges to its top ranks.
As a result, the company is now saying that the ability to retract messages will soon be available to all Messenger users. TechCrunch said an “unsend” feature is coming in the next few months. Keep in mind Messenger currently has a Secret Conversation mode, in which users can set a timer on messages so that they self-destruct. But everyone in the conversation is notified when their thread will expire.
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In a statement to the media, a Facebook spokesperson said the company will "now be making a broader delete message feature available" to all users. However, this rollout may take some time, the spokesperson explained, but until the feature is ready, Facebook will no longer be deleting any executives’ messages. "We should have done this sooner - and we’re sorry that we did not," the spokesperson added.
Facebook already offers an unsend feature in its WhatsApp app. It lets users revoke a message within a short period of time after sending. When the message is called back, a note that says “this message was deleted” is shown in its place, whether it was a text, video, or photo. Instagram also has an unsend feature that removes a message - as long as the recipient hasn't seen it or the push notification.
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What's important to note about this latest controversy is that old Facebook messages from Zuckerberg have disappeared from other users’ inboxes and threads. The company's terms of service do not say deleting messages violates community standards, but it's being seen as a breach of trust, which is not good for Facebook, considering it's still reeling from the effects of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.