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Facebook Will Roll Out Unsend In Messenger Soon

By November 20, 2018June 2nd, 2022Technology News

For more than a year, Facebook has been working on an important update to their Messenger service that will give users the ability to “unsend” messages in conversations you’ve had with others. This means permanently deleting them from both your record of the conversation and theirs.

On the face of it, that sounds amazing. If it was as amazing as you’re probably imagining it to be, then privacy advocates everywhere would be cheering wildly.

Don’t put your party hat on just yet. Although this is a step in the right direction, it’s a small one, and its modest size is both underwhelming and disappointing.

There are two limitations to what we outlined above:

First, you’ve only got ten minutes to delete your message.  That’s great if you send something in anger, and immediately regret it, because it gives you the opportunity to take it back and get a “do over.”

Unfortunately, once the ten-minute clock runs out, the message is part of the permanent record, just like it is now. That also means that saved conversations will be just as vulnerable as they are now, should a hacker breach your Facebook account, or the account of the person you’re talking to.

Second, you can only delete messages you send.  So building on the example above, you send a message in anger, but if before you can delete it the person you sent it to responds, you can only delete the message you sent, not their reply. The reply to your message will remain in the conversation log forever, unless the sender decides to delete it within his/her own ten minute window.

One final thing to be aware of here is that even if you delete a given message, Facebook doesn’t.  It retains a log of the message for an unknown amount of time.  Ostensibly this is to prevent bullies from sending nasty messages, deleting them and thus destroying all proof that they ever sent it in the first place. As you can imagine, that solution leaves something to be desired.

All that to say, “Unsend!” is coming.  It’s going to be useful in certain circumstances, but for most people, it will fall well short of greatness.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.