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New Facebook feature coming up - Unsend messages you sent earlier

09 April 2018

"Today's updates are created to prevent future abuse in elections", the Facebook executives Rob Goldman and Alex Himel said in a blogpost, "and to help ensure you have the information that you need to assess political and issue ads, as well as content on pages".

As the statement makes clear, it is not known quite when the "unsend" or "delete message" feature will be made available to everyone, and the claim that Facebook will not delete its own executives' messages is something that will be very hard to monitor.

The company says it has been removing Zuckerberg's messages from the inboxes of various people for several years.

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Facebook founder and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg is preparing to testify before Congressional panels investigating the mishandling of its data and other revelations about the social-media giant.

Facebook on Wednesday issued updates of its data policy, which sheds more light on how much data it collects on users and how that information is shared with other services.

TechCrunch says revealing plans for the Unsend button now could serve to dampen the backlash by making Zuckerberg look like a beta tester of the feature, and eventually normalizing Unsend as a common behavior.

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In the recent weeks, the ephemeral-messaging debacle is not the only time that Facebook seems to have not fully thought through as to how a well-intentioned but quickly rolled-out feature may affect its user base. "And people using our secret message feature in the encrypted version of Messenger have the ability to set a timer - and have their messages automatically deleted", a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying in the report. This way, a message will disappear from the sender and receiver's inboxes after a certain amount of time. The Sony messages included disparaging remarks about movie stars and other people in the entertainment industry. "This may take some time", a Facebook spokeswoman wrote in an email on Friday.

As to why Facebook "took so long" to address the Cambridge Analytica data breach, which was first reported in 2015, Sandberg told NBC "we thought that the data had been deleted".

According to a report by Engadget, users have had received messages from CEO Zuckerberg previously, as early as 2010. "We did so in full compliance with our legal obligations to preserve messages", the spokesperson from the social media platform added. Facebook notes this is similar to how the retractions of Zuckerberg's messages worked.

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Facebook Messenger now offers a Secret chat feature wherein messages can be timed to self-destruct with durations ranging from 5 seconds up to 1 day.

New Facebook feature coming up - Unsend messages you sent earlier