Facebook Will Allow Its Remaining Users to Unsend Messages

But Mark Zuckerberg and other execs have been able to delete their sent messages for years
IMAGE Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook

On Thursday, TechCrunch reported that Facebook executives have long been able to delete their sent messages, a feature that's never been available to the public. The company, by now well-practiced in crisis management, quickly followed up with an apology and an announcement that everyone who hasn't deleted their account will eventually be able to unsend messages, too.

According to The Guardian:

Facebook has been using a secret tool to delete messages sent by its executives from the inboxes of their recipients, without disclosing the deletions to the recipients or even recording there was ever a message in the first place. Effectively, this means if you send Mark Zuckerberg a Facebook message, he has a copy for ever. But if he sends you one, he can reach into your inbox and pluck it out of existence.

"We will now be making a broader delete message feature available," a Facebook spokesperson told The Verge. "This may take some time. And until this feature is ready, we will no longer be deleting any executives' messages. We should have done this sooner—and we’re sorry that we did not."

The company said that they gave higher-ups this ability in order to tighten security following the Sony Pictures hack. This latest controversy broke during Sheryl Sandberg's media tour, an attempt to rebuild the company’s image in the wake of the Cambridge Analytical scandal, and just a week before Zuckerberg will testify before Congress.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Gabrielle Bruney
Gabrielle Bruney is a writer and editor for Esquire, where she focuses on politics and culture. She's based (and born and raised) in Brooklyn, New York.
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