Facebook doesn’t allow users to delete or retract messages they’ve sent to someone by Facebook Messenger–that is unless you are the company’s CEO or a top exec. The company has deleted some messages sent by Zuckerberg to other Facebook users via Messenger or Facebook’s chat tools going back as far as 2010, reports TechCrunch:
Facebook chats sent by Zuckerberg from several years ago or older were missing from the inboxes of both former employees and non-employees. What’s left makes it look the recipients were talking to themselves, as only their side of back-and-forth conversations with Zuckerberg still appear. Three sources asked to remain anonymous out of fear of angering Zuckerberg or burning bridges with the company.
[Update: Recent messages from Zuckerberg remain in users’ inboxes. Old messages from before 2014 still appear to some users, indicating the retraction did not apply to all chats the CEO sent. But more sources have come forward since publication, saying theirs disappeared as well.]
Upon learning of the message deletions, Facebook told TechCrunch that the move was done for corporate security purposes and that Facebook is in “full compliance with our legal obligations to preserve messages.” However, the company never informed the recipients of Zuckerberg’s messages of their removals, nor made a public disclosure of doing so. It also appears Facebook may have violated its own community standards by removing Zuck’s messages as Facebook’s terms of service don’t appear to give the company the right to remove messages unless they violate the company’s community standards.
Update: After this story ran, Facebook reached out with the following statement:
“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”.