Facebook Messenger’s “unsend” button may finally be a reality very soon as it seems to have already appeared in many messenger accounts of users worldwide. In April, news came out that Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook messages were deleted from recipients’ inboxes in what many saw as a violation of user trust and abuse of power since Facebook Messenger doesn’t have an Unsend button for its users. This swiftly prompted Facebook, to release a statement announcing that it would actually be building an UNSEND functionality for all users in the near future and the time seems to be nearer than ever.
Facebook users were already able to delete messages in a chat, but those deletions would only be for their end and would not delete the message from the recipient’s inbox. In addition, an Unsend button did already exist but this was under a timer expiration and for specific secret conversations only. Facebook-owned Instagram already has an “unsend” feature in its messaging functionality that instantly removes the message from both inboxes, with no trace left, no matter how old that message may be.
In its current state (as a test for certain users), the Messenger “unsend” button seems to only be available for a set period of time after the user sends the message.
A very interesting point is made here by Tech Crunch in regards to the effect and validity of the “unsend” functionality for Facebook and it is quite important to see what Facebook’s view of this is when their official release of the function is announced in the coming weeks or months:
Beyond the dubious ethics of Facebook manipulating users’ private messaging threads without consent or disclosure, there’s the question of whether and unsend feature is good for Facebook at all. It could make users more willing to share vulnerable, sensitive or confidential professional messages. But it also might make users paranoid that messages they receive could disappear, leading to anxious screenshotting. It also could lead to abuse if users think they can send offensive content then have it retracted shortly after it’s seen.
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