You can finally Unsend messages on Facebook Messenger − but there’s a time limit

More than half a year after the feature was first teased, Facebook has finally added the ability to “unsend” messages to Messenger.

Starting today, Facebook Messenger app users on both iOS and Android can completely remove sent messages from conversations. However, there’s a catch.

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It’s only possible to unsend your own messages, and only if they were sent less than 10 minutes ago. That means you can’t just trawl through all of your old conversations and wipe out the bits you don’t like.

The feature is officially called ‘Remove for Everyone’, and you can use it by tapping and holding a message you want to delete, then tapping ‘Remove’ from the pop-up menu.

If you then select the ‘Remove for Everyone’ option, a warning will appear, reading: “You’ll permanently remove this message for all chat members. They can see that you removed a message and still report it.”

If you press ahead, the message will completely disappear from the conversation, on both your side and the recipient’s side, and the line “You [or the sender’s name] removed a message” will appear in place of the deleted message.

Facebook, however, says it will keep a private copy of the message “for a short while” after it has been deleted, in order to review it in case a user reports the sender for harassment.

“We looked at how the existing delete functionality works. It turns out that when people are deleting messages because it’s a mistake or they sent something they didn’t want to send, it’s under a minute. We decided to extend it to 10, but decided we didn’t need to do more,” Facebook’s head of Messenger, Stan Chudnovsky, told TechCrunch.

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The feature works on all types of messages, including text, group chats, photos, videos and links, and Facebook says it’s working on more unsend features, including the ability to preemptively set an expiration date for specific messages or entire threads.

Remove for Everyone has already started rolling out to users in Poland, Bolivia, Colombia and Lithuania, and Facebook says it will be available globally “as soon as possible”.

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