Facebook Messenger Begins Rolling Out Unsend Feature

Staff Writer
Updated

Updated Nov. 15: After teasing the unsend feature in release notes, Facebook has formally introduced it in select territories. This story has been updated accordingly.

You still can't edit a Tweet, but soon you'll be able to unsend a Facebook message.

Credit: ShutterstockCredit: ShutterstockFacebook has started rolling out the ability to delete messages on both iOS and Android in a few select countries, according to TechCrunch. It's launching first for Facebook Messenger users in Bolivia, Colombia, Lithuania and Poland, and allows them to take back messages in group and one-to-one threads for a period of up to 10 minutes after sending.

The feature is listed as "Remove For Everyone," and appears along with reaction emojis when you tap on an individual message (you can still choose to "Remove For You," which allows everyone else to continue seeing your message except for you). After the message disappears, gray text will appear in its place, indicating a part of the conversation was deleted.

Facebook says it will retain deleted messages for a short period of time, so that the company can still review them if reported.

Credit: Facebook and TechCrunchCredit: Facebook and TechCrunchGiving users the ability to recall their own messages is something of a mea culpa for Facebook, which announced it would make the feature widely available to the public after it was discovered that CEO Mark Zuckerberg and some of his associates had been able to do so on the platform for a few years.

Back in April, Facebook said it would update Messenger in several months to push out the highly-anticipated update, and until it did, it would strip those aforementioned employees of the option to unsend, too. "We should have done this sooner," a Facebook representative told The Verge at the time, "and we’re sorry that we did not.”

MORE: Why I Deleted My Facebook Account (And How I Did It)

Stan Chudnovsky, head of Messenger at Facebook, told TechCrunch this week that the public release only took as long as it did because the platform's architecture made it difficult to implement in a reliable manner.

The new remove functionality lets you delete messages of any kind — including photos — and Facebook has announced it's even working on the capability to set messages to self-destruct with a timer.

No time frame has been provided for when users in other parts of the world can expect the new feature, but the wait shouldn't be too long. It's also coming at a pivotal time for the chat app, as Facebook has started testing a pretty comprehensive UI update as well.