UPDATED 22:35 EST / FEBRUARY 05 2019

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Embarrassing message begone: Facebook Messenger now lets you turn back time

Facebook Inc. today released what might be one of the most sought-after features in its history, allowing users to delete messages they have sent in Messenger.

In the past, users could always hit delete and the message would disappear from their own inboxes, but that didn’t mean it was scrubbed from the actual conversation for others. Facebook announced Tuesday that for iOS and Android, it’s rolling out the option for users to expunge their messages when sent to one person or to groups.

There is a slight catch, however, in that users will only have 10 minutes to make that decision. After that, the message will remain. If people want to delete a message, they can simply tap the sent message, perhaps a typo or an ill-advised flirtation, and hit “Remove for Everyone.” There will still be a “Removed for You” option, which is pretty pointless.

The change is a consequence of a story broke by TechCrunch last year that detailed how Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg had given himself the executive power to change his mind and delete his own messages from other people’s eyes.

At the time, people had come forward and said they had noticed that messages sent by Zuckerberg had mysteriously disappeared, showing that there were holes in some conversations.

Facebook came clean when approached about the missing messages, stating that changes had been made to executives’ communications in light of security concerns. The company, however, had not made this public knowledge and the recipients of those messages had not been informed.

Not surprisingly, this controversy didn’t go down very well with many Facebook users, who complained that it’s one rule for us and another for them. Soon after, Facebook said it would launch an “Unsend” option, and in the meantime Zuckerberg would not have his superpower. It just took almost 10 months for it to happen.

The company said the feature is currently rolling out to global users, but it may take a few days. Facebook also said that when messages are deleted for everyone, they will also be scrubbed from company servers, although they will be held for a “limited amount of time” in case they prove to be abusive messages.

Image: Facebook

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