Facebook has been taking steps to assure their users their personal data is safe following the recent Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal. So far, those steps have included a public apology from CEO Mark Zuckerburg and several promises to roll out additional privacy-oriented features over time.
However, Facebook seems to have taken a step backward as far as regaining their users' trust goes. As we reported today, TechCrunch recently discovered the social media giant has been quietly retracting or "unsending" messages sent from company executives (including Zuckerburg) to other Facebook users.
Facebook later claimed they were retracting these messages in an attempt to "protect [their] executives’ communications" following the Sony Pictures email hack in 2014.
"After Sony Pictures’ emails were hacked in 2014 we made a number of changes to protect our executives’ communications," a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. "These included limiting the retention period for Mark’s messages in Messenger. We did so in full compliance with our legal obligations to preserve messages." Interestingly, the company's wording seems to suggest this message deletion was planned in advance.
Regardless of their intentions, Facebook now seems to understand that quietly removing messages from their users' private chats isn't the best idea given their current situation. A Messenger spokesperson recently sent us a statement claiming the unsend "feature" will roll out for all users in the future:
We have discussed this feature several times. And people using our secret message feature in the encrypted version of Messenger have the ability to set a timer — and have their messages automatically deleted. We will now be making a broader delete message feature available.
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.