You can now retract messages on Facebook Messenger—but act fast.
On Tuesday, Facebook Messenger finally got an unsend feature. Unfortunately, it only gives you up to 10 minutes to delete the message. Once the time limit passes, you’re out of luck.
The unsend feature works for one-on-one sessions and group chats. To use it, simply tap on the message you want to delete. You’ll notice a new option that says “Remove for Everyone.” Click on it, and you’ll delete the message in question. Facebook will then replace the text with an alert, notifying everyone in the chat the message has been scrubbed.
The feature is handy in the event you mistype something or accidentally send the wrong photo to a friend. But it’s pretty much useless if you drunk message your ex one night and then wake up the next morning realizing you made a horrible mistake.
In contrast, Facebook-owned WhatsApp gives you one hour to delete a message, while the app Telegram gives you 48 hours to remove a bad text.
So why did Facebook settle on the 10-minute time limit? Most of the times, people actually delete messages within a minute of sending them, the company told PCMag. Extending the time limit longer might also introduce ways to abuse the unsend function as well, the company said, without elaborating. Still, Facebook plans to monitor use of the new feature, and will tweak the time limit if needed.
The company has been promising an unsend feature since last April after Facebook was found mysteriously deleting messages company CEO Mark Zuckerberg had sent on the app. Facebook said it did so for security reasons, but the whole incident raised questions about why normal users didn’t have the same privilege. Now you sort of do. But you won’t be able to recall any messages you’ve sent months or years ago. The best you can do is delete the message from your own chat window.