The embarrassing Facebook messages you'd like to wipe from the face of the Earth are finally going to become deletable. The beleaguered social media giant, which is still reeling in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica data-mining scandal that's affected 87 million users, confirmed to TechCrunch that users will be able to scrub old messages from Messenger thanks to an unsend feature primed to roll out some point soon.
The news comes after the same TechCrunch report revealed that Facebook had been deleting Mark Zuckerberg's old messages to Facebook users for years -- a security measure apparently implemented in 2014 after the Sony Pictures email hack. It appears Zuckerberg's messages were given a shorter retention period, which is something no other user had ever enjoyed. Sources said that the new unsend feature will extend that courtesy when it implements the change in a few months, meaning you'll eventually have the ability to scrub old messages that still give you anxiety. Currently, old missives live in on a recipient's inbox, regardless of whether the original sender deletes them.
All of this is to say that Facebook is performing a serious amount of damage control. The company recently rolled out a sweeping series of privacy controls in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica debacle, which involved the purloining of user data by a university professor and its subsequent sale to the shadowy, London data analytics firm. For his company's part, Zuckerberg has apologized, but it hasn't done much to restore public faith before he testifies to Congress about the company's mishandling of user data on April 11.
While the dust settles, there's still plenty of safeguards you can consult to protect your privacy in lieu of actually deleting your account.