Facebook’s hypocritical protection of its executives’ privacy while hanging everyone else out to dry was highlighted on Thursday night when it confirmed Mark Zuckerberg has the ability to delete Messenger communications from other peoples’ inboxes. Now, Facebook is apparently going to give everyone that option.
In no hurry to take another public beating, it seems Facebook is now more than willing to rapidly respond to any bad PR, at least until CEO Mark Zuckerberg makes his Congressional debut. According to TechCrunch, Facebook has confirmed it’s working on an “unsend” feature in Messenger that will be available to all users in several months and it “has already been considering how to build this product.” We’ve reached out to Facebook for comment and confirmation and we’ll update this post when we receive a response.
This is a developing story and it’s unclear if Facebook intends to give people the exact same options as Zuckerberg has. The company said last night:
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.
Being able to unsend a specific message and having an automatic setting that deletes all communications after a certain period are two different things. Facebook told TechCrunch that, going forward, it won’t “unsend or retract” Zuck’s messages until everyone has the option.
Much like its recent announcement that it is moving all privacy settings to a single page, Facebook seems determined to frame all of its changes as something it’s been working on in the laboratory for a long time. Arguably in the last few weeks, we’ve seen more significant privacy announcements from the company than in the past several years. I guess the company just had some bad luck with the Cambridge Analytica scandal breaking right before it started rolling out all of its long-in-the-works fixes.