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Facebook Messenger May Get Disappearing Chats Soon

Facebook Messenger has finally caught on to the Snapchat phenomenon. The app is reportedly getting a "disappearing messages" feature that will put a time limit on how long chats are saved. You may be able to turn this feature on and off in the middle of a conversation.

Screenshots obtained by the @iOSAppChanges Twitter account show a Facebook Messenger conversation with system alerts saying, "You turned on disappearing messages. New messages will disappear from this conversation 15 minutes after being sent."

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It's not clear how iOSAppChanges got the screenshots, but it's not impossible that this feature could be coming to Messenger soon. Popular chat app WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, recently enabled end-to-end encryption on its voice and group chats, and has been encrypting text messages for awhile. The leaks appear to be from changelogs of beta versions of the app, lending some weight to the report.

However, it's not clear how long it will take for the feature to roll out, if it does at all (Facebook is constantly testing out new features with small beta groups). Facebook has not made any announcement regarding the rumor, but if the feature does come to pass, Messenger will join a growing list of secure messaging apps that offer burn-after-reading tools.

Among the most popular are Snapchat, Telegram and Signal, which let you send ephemeral texts, pictures and videos without worrying about them staying in your log or history forever. Those apps alert you when your contact takes a screenshot of your message, while it's not yet clear if Facebook's Messenger will have a similar warning.

Messenger has gotten a slew of updates lately, though, including group calls, chat bots and integrated Uber booking, so a security-related upgrade would not be a big surprise.

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