Nearly a year after promising the Unsend option for all users, Facebook is now rolling out this feature for all. This latest feature will provide Messenger users with an option to retract messages sent wrongly within a 10-minute window of sending it.
How to Unsend a Message on Messenger?
The process is similar to what you find in WhatsApp. Facebook explains the process in a post on its Help Centre. Messenger users can now delete messages in the chat via two methods. You can either choose, “Remove for You,” or “Remove for Everyone.” When you choose “Remove for you,” the message will be deleted from your chat window but will be available for others in the chat to see it.
If you select, Remove for Everyone, all people in the chat conversation will not be able to see the message. However, keep in mind, that a few users may have already seen it. When you remove the message for everyone, like in WhatsApp, it leaves a tombstone indicating that a message was deleted.
To unsend a message, just tap on the message you would like to remove and then choose the appropriate option. The cut-off time limit for deleting a message in Messenger is 10 minutes.
However, if other users find your message offensive, they can still report it, even if you have deleted the message. To prevent cyberbullies from using this option to cover their tracks, Facebook retains all unsent messages for a particular period. If you report an offensive message, even after it has been removed, Facebook can use it to review any policy violations.
The Unsend Option was Secretly Available to Facebook Executives for a Long Time Now
Though this option is only now being rolled out to the public, the Unsend option has been available to senior Facebook executives for a long time. It was in April last year; a few journalists noted that messages they have previously received in their Messenger inbox had mysteriously disappeared.
Once this action was made public, Facebook released a statement announcing that this feature will soon be available to all users. This was in April 2018.
Following this statement, Facebook introduced the Unsend feature to users in a handful of countries like Lithuania, Colombia, Bolivia and Poland for initial testing and feedback in November 2018. Now, this feature is available for all Messenger users across the world.
Limitations with Facebook Messenger’s Unsend Feature
One of the biggest limitations is the 10-minute window. If 10 minutes have passed since you sent the message, it gets stuck in the conversation forever. There’s no other option to retract it.
Another limitation is that you can only delete your message. For instance, if you send a message and someone else reads and responds to it, you can remove just the original message and not the entire conversation.
What do Tech Critics Say?
Several tech critics are of the view that the Unsend option was never in Facebook’s plan and the social media giant was forced to introduce it only after its executives were caught tampering with people’s inboxes.