Mark Zuckerberg had a secret power to retroactively delete his Messenger messages after they had been sent. Now Facebook says everyone will get that privacy tool.
The Facebook CEO was able to send messages through his company's popular app and later delete traces of the conversation, according to a TechCrunch report. On Friday, after the discrete deletes came to light, Facebook promised to introduce that executive feature to everyone in the coming months.
"We will now be making a broader delete message feature available," a Facebook spokeswoman said in an e-mail statement. "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 said the unsend button was given to a select group of executives after the Sony hack of 2014, developed as a security measure to prevent their personal communications from leaking.
Facebook has faced some criticism for developing the privacy tool and only announcing it would give it to everyone after being discovered. Facebook Messenger does have a "secret" mode, where people can set up chats that are timed to expire, a feature it released in 2016. The executives, however, could unsend any of their chats from any time.
Facebook has been facing public pressure over its data and privacy policies ever since the Cambridge Analytica leak was exposed last month. The leak revealed vulnerabilities in how Facebook shares and retains personal information.
Since then there has been a sharp focus on practices inside the company and what types of user data it collects. Last week, Facebook users found the social network was keeping messaging and call logs from Messenger. After a deeper look, Facebook said it had confirmed that it didn't keep the contents of the messages, only logs of the contacts times. It promised to limit how long it keeps those records.
Also, it was discovered that Facebook scans all photos and links sent by Messenger, using machines to guard against illegal activity transpiring on the service.