It’s difficult to remember now after Facebook’s many data and privacy scandals over the past year, but there was a minor uproar last spring when it was revealed Mark Zuckerberg deleted some of his Facebook messages from the recipients’ inboxes. After this incident was discovered, Facebook announced it would be building an “Unsend” feature for everyone. However, nothing ultimately came of it — until this week.
According to TechCrunch, Facebook is testing a prototype “Unsend” button in Messenger for Android. The tool was first spotted lurking in the code by researcher Jane Manchun Wong. Using the Unsend feature, you would be able to delete a message from both your inbox and the recipients’, but much like with Gmail’s “Undo” button, there will be a time limit. That means you’ll only have a short period to take back what you said.
“Facebook internally tests products and features before they ship to the public so we can ensure the quality of the experience,” the company told TechCrunch, seemingly confirming the existence of the feature.
Though the tool is obviously well-intentioned, there are also ways that it could be abused. For instance, someone could send threatening or bullying content to a user and then immediately take it back, deleting all evidence that any harassment had ever occurred. Let’s hope Facebook has thought that through — and that this feature will be genuinely helpful for users who want more control over their accounts.