Facebook finally rolled out a long-promised feature this week that will allow you to delete a message from someone else’s inbox up to ten minutes after you’ve sent it. (Think the “undo” feature common to most email providers.) However, there’s an unanswered question hovering over this admittedly-welcome privacy feature: would users have ever gotten it if Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had not been caught using it for himself?
Last April, TechCrunch reported that messages sent from Zuckerberg had been disappearing from recipients’ inboxes. Facebook never disclosed the removal of these messages, or informed the people who’d received them that they were gone. The company defended itself by saying that it introduced this tool as a security measure in response to the 2014 hacking of Sony Pictures’ emails, and that it was in “full compliance” with its legal obligation to archive emails. Then, once it became clear this could quickly become a PR problem for Facebook, the company announced it would soon roll out the feature for all users. And, starting this week, it’s finally here.
If you want to utilize this tool for yourself, just tap on a message within Facebook Messenger and click “Remove for Everyone.” Then, after a message is deleted, it will be replaced by text informing all users on the message chain that it has been removed. It’s a super simple and useful privacy tool, and it’s a net positive that it’s finally rolling out. However, it took Facebook getting caught with its hand in the cookie jar for us to even find out about it in the first place.