Facebook has been facing significant user backlash over the last few months mostly due to the Cambridge Analytica fiasco that saw data on millions of Facebook users stolen. That issue will see Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying in front of Congress. More recently, Facebook is facing another backlash after it deleted messages sent by Zuckerberg from users’ inboxes. Facebook has now announced that the Unsend feature will be rolled out to all Facebook users.
Some see this as a sort of cover-up where Facebook can say it was testing a feature and that it will now be given to all users. The social network has promised to not unsend any more of Zuckerberg’s messages until the feature is available for all users. When Facebook began to retract messages that Zuckerberg had sent, it made no public disclosure of what it was doing. Lots of users are viewing that move as a breach of trust. By announcing the feature is coming to all users it seems like an attempt to make Zuckerberg appear as a beta tester of the feature to some.
A Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch, “We have discussed this feature several times. And people using our secret message feature in the encrypted version of Messenger have the ability to set a timer — and have their messages automatically deleted. We will now be making a broader delete message feature available. 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.”
TechCrunch notes that it has six sources that confirmed messages they received from Zuckerberg had been deleted from their inboxes. The publication also claims it has email receipts proving retractions. Facebook said that “After Sony Pictures’ emails were hacked in 2014 we made a number of changes to protect our executives’ communications. These included limiting the retention period for Mark’s messages in Messenger. We did so in full compliance with our legal obligations to preserve messages.”
Facebook has also pointed out that similar tech has been available for Facebook Messenger already with an expiration timer for messages that can be set. When that timer expires, the messages are removed from the sender’s and receiver’s inboxes. Facebook notes this is similar to how the retractions of Zuckerberg’s messages worked.