Facebook is testing a new Snapchat-like feature that allows you to set an expiration time on posts. In the help section on the social networking website, the company describes how you can schedule the deletion of your posts in advance. The feature isn't available to everyone yet; as an answer to the question, "How do I post something and set it to expire?", the company says that "setting posts to expire is only available in some areas right now".
This shouldn't come as a surprise, as Facebook often tests new features by rolling them out to a small audience first, an exercise aimed at garnering feedback and assessing user reaction.
According to TheNextWeb, some users noticed the feature in the Facebook iOS app earlier this week, and posted screenshots showing expiration times ranging from one hour to seven days.
When contacted, a Facebook spokesperson said, "We’re running a small pilot of a feature on Facebook for iOS that lets people schedule deletion of their posts in advance”. The company, however, didn't provide any further details including whether deleted posts will remain on the company's servers.
This isn't Facebook's first attempt at ephemerality; back in 2012, the company released Poke, a Snapchat clone that was created by a small team at the social network in just 12 days. The app failed to catch the public's imagination, and was eventually removed from the Apple App Store.
Last November, Facebook reportedly made a $3 billion offer to buy Snapchat, which turned it down. In June this year, the company released Slingshot, an that app lets you send photos or short duration (15 sec) videos. The next month, Facebook-owned Instagram also unveiled a Snapchat-like messaging app called Bolt.