Hours ago, Facebook admitted that Mark Zuckerberg had given himself special powers to delete old Facebook messages from recipients’ inboxes—a feature that’s not available to ordinary Facebook users. Now, in a remarkable coincidence, the company told Techcrunch’s Josh Constine it has been working on a feature to allow any user to unsend messages.
“Until the unsend feature is released for everyone, Facebook says it won’t unsend or retract any more of Zuckerberg’s messages,” Constine writes. There’s no indication that Facebook will attempt to restore Zuckerberg messages that were already deleted, however.
This appears to be an effort to dampen outrage over Zuckerberg giving himself special powers on the platform that are not available to ordinary users. But Constine reports that Facebook “hasn’t finalized exactly how the unsend feature will work.”
Indeed, it’s not clear if Facebook’s new unsend feature will allow ordinary users to perform the kind of unilateral, retroactive deletions Zuckeberg performed. Facebook is considering adding an “expiration timer” to messages—a feature available in Facebook’s “secret conversations” feature.
But that expiration timer is for marking new messages for deletion. It doesn’t seem to allow retroactive deletion of years-old messages.
“Keep in mind that deleting a message or conversation from your device won’t delete it from your friend’s device,” says the Facebook page for secret conversations. “You can’t delete sent or received messages from someone else’s device.”