Facebook announced that it will allow all users to unsend messages in the coming months via the messenger app.
However, the questionable timing follows news that Mark Zuckerberg has already been deleting his private messages off the popular social media site.
‘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,’ Facebook said in a statement to Business Insiders.
‘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.’
Facebook received a lot of flack after some of Mark Zuckerberg’s private messages were deleted off their servers.
Three sources claim old Facebook messages from Zuckerberg have disappeared from their inbox.
The recipients were not notified – raising concerns about what the Facebook CEO could be hiding.
Facebook claims the change was made after the 2014 Sony Pictures hack, when a mass data breach at the movie studio resulted in embarrassing email histories being leaked.
However, the lack of disclosure has angered some users, along with the absence of a similar tool to recall messages for normal users.
An email receipt of a message from 2010 seen by TechCrunch proves some messages from the Facebook CEO no longer appear in chat logs or Facebook files.
The removal of these messages was not disclosed publicly and users were not informed.
Although Zuckerberg may be CEO of the company, the ability to remove messages from Messenger – now used by 1.3 billion people – is not allowed under the company’s terms of service.
Users can only delete messages from their own inbox and they would still appear in the inbox of the recipient.
The fact the company is prepared to make exceptions makes a mockery of its statement that it wants to ‘make the world more open and transparent’, say experts.
Facebook claimed these messages were deleted due to concerns about corporate security.
‘After Sony Pictures’ emails were hacked in 2014 we made a number of changes to protect our executives’ communications’, a spokesperson told MailOnline.
‘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.
The Sony hack targeted the emails of Sony film executives, revealing the inner workings of the industry.
Other Facebook-owned companies such as Instagram and WhatsApp have functions that mean users can delete messages.
Earlier this week the company was further embroiled in the scandal over user’s private data.
It was revealed Facebook scans the contents of messages that people send each other on its Messenger app, blocking any content that contravenes its rules.
What users write in messages may also be read manually if it’s flagged to moderators for breaching Facebook’s community guidelines.
While the intentions behind the practice may be well-meaning, the news is likely to add to users’ concerns over what the social network knows about them.
It follows revelations that the Trump-affiliated consulting firm obtained data on at least 50 million unsuspecting Facebook users.
Facebook admits 87 million people were part of Cambridge Analytica scandal
This information was used to target voters in the US, based on psychological profiling, with political adverts spreading disinformation.
Facebook is also facing criticism for collecting years of data on call and text histories from Android users.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed the policy during a podcast interview with Vox’s editor at large, Ezra Klein.
Zuckerberg told his host a story about receiving a phone call from staff at his Mountain View firm.
He was informed that their systems had blocked attempts to send inflammatory Messenger instant messages about ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.
About the experience, the 33-year-old billionaire said: ‘In that case, our systems detect what’s going on.
‘We stop those messages from going through.’
The news has been met with mixed reactions on social media, with a number of users expressing concern.
Messenger says that it doesn’t use data from messages it has scanned for the purposes of advertising, according to reports in Bloomberg.
The company told the website that it uses the same tools to prevent abuse in messages that are in place across Facebook as a whole.
Users are also able to flag posts or messages that they feel are in violation of the site’s house rules.
This will either cause one of the social network’s community operations team to manually review the content, or automated systems can also make decisions