Facebook has finally begun rolling out the much-anticipated 'unsend' feature for its Messenger app, with users being able to delete text messages, photos, videos, and links.
The feature is now available for iPhone and Android users of the app, and while the launch began on Wednesday in only Poland, Bolivia, Colombia and Lithuania, it's expanding to other countries in the coming days and weeks.
'Unsend' features are now all the rage in the social media industry, with WhatsApp, Instagram, Gmail and other services all introducing similar offerings in previous years or months, possibly in an attempt to make users feel comfortable with posting messages impulsively and without restraint.
And now it's actually being rolled out for all Messenger users, with the app referring to it as "Remove for Everyone."
However, users have only ten minutes to unsend a sent message, and even after they've erased it receivers will still see that a message has been sent and deleted.
"The pros are that users want to be in control […] and if you make a mistake you can correct it. There are a lot of legitimate use cases out there that we wanted to enable," said Stan Chudnovsky, Facebook’s head of Messenger, in an interview with TechCrunch.
Chudnovsky also revealed that removed messages will be kept by Facebook for a 'short period' of time before wiped off the company's servers, just in case other users report them for violating Messenger's bullying policies.
"We need to make sure we don’t open up any new venues for bullying. We need to make sure people aren’t sending you bad messages and then removing them because if you report them and the messages aren’t there we can’t do anything," he said.
However, neither he nor Facebook commented on the possibility that an unsend feature might actually encourage more knee-jerk and reckless messaging in the long run, given that users now know they always have the option of deleting anything they immediately regret.
How to use Messenger's 'Remove for Everyone' feature
Using the new unsend feature is extremely simple.
First, press and hold the message you'd like to delete.
When the 'Remove' option pops up, tap either 'Remove for Everyone' or 'Remove for You,' depending on what you want to do.
That's it, and once you've deleted a message, other users will simply see a small 'tombstone' icon which indicates that a message has been deleted.
This story originally appeared in The Sun.