Facebook Messenger 101: How to Unsend Messages

How to Unsend Messages

How many times have you ever sent a message on Facebook that you immediately wanted to undo? Unlike some email services, unsending on Messenger has only existed in our dreams. But that's all changing — now, Facebook is allowing users to unsend messages in its popular chat app.

If, in your excitement, you jumped into Messenger immediately to try this feature out, you might be disappointed to see no undo button appear after sending out a message. That's because Facebook has not rolled out this option yet, and likely won't for some time — the company "announced" unsending after news broke that Mark Zuckerberg, as well as other Facebook executives, had unsent their own messages. Facebook now claims this feature is coming to all users "in several months." Bummer.

In the meantime, there are ways for you to make sure a message you send won't exist for long. You just need to know you want it gone before you send it.

Enter Secret Conversations. These allow you to create an end-to-end encrypted chat with your Facebook friends. While great for privacy, for our purposes, we want to take advantage of the "timed messages" feature. To get started, open a new chat in Messenger, then tap the lock in the top-right corner of the display (tap "Secret" on iOS). Then, search or tap a name on your friends list to begin a new message. If this is your first time using Secret Conversations, just tap "OK" to move on.

Now, messages won't automatically disappear just because you're using Secret Conversations. To access this feature, you need to tap the stopwatch icon in the message bar. Next, you need to select how long you'd like the message to exist for before it deletes itself from both devices, and options range from 5 seconds to a full 24 hours.

Once you select a time, just write and send your message. If you doubt your message will actually be deleted, you'll see a timer next to your message, counting down how long it has before self-destruction.

Cover image and screenshots by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks

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