Ever sent a message and then wished you could take it back?
Well, that wish might soon be a reality on Facebook Messenger with the platform promising to make an ‘unsend’ feature available to all users.
It comes after online technology news publisher TechCrunch reported Facebook has been secretly deleting some messages its CEO Mark Zuckerberg sent through its Messenger application.
The company admitted it began erasing the messages of Mr Zuckerberg and a few other top executives in 2014 after computer hackers obtained and released emails from Sony Pictures executives.
The social media giant said it now plans to make the ‘unsend’ feature available to all users.
“We will now be making a broader delete message feature available. This may take some time,” a Facebook spokeswoman wrote in an email to Bloomberg.
“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.”
But Facebook told TechCrunch it has not finalised exactly how the ‘unsend’ feature will work. A spokesperson told the organisation that the “only possible option is an expiration timer” users can set on messages.
“When the timer runs out, the message would disappear from both their and the recipients’ inboxes,” it reported.
Facebook is also going to verify advertisers’ identity
Facebook said it will require advertisers who want to run either political ads or so-called issue ads — which may not endorse a specific candidate or party but which discuss political topics — to verify themselves.
Facebook will require every such advertiser to confirm their identity and location.
“Any advertiser who doesn’t pass will be prohibited from running political or issue ads,” Mr Zuckerberg wrote.
In addition, Facebook says it will also require the administrators of pages with a “large number” of followers to verify their identities and addresses. It has not specified what number of followers would trigger the requirement.
The social media giant said the steps are designed to deter the kind of election meddling and online information warfare that US authorities have accused Russia of pursuing, the company’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said.
Moscow has denied the allegations.
The company disclosed in September that Russians using fake names had used the social network to try to influence US voters in the months before and after the 2016 election.
And it has thrown its support behind the Honest Ads Act
For the first time, it has also backed proposed legislation requiring social media sites to disclose the identities of buyers of online political campaign ads.
“Election interference is a problem that’s bigger than any one platform, and that’s why we support the Honest Ads Act,” Mr Zuckerberg wrote in his post.
That legislation is aimed at countering concerns about foreign nationals using social media to influence American politics, which is part of the investigation into possible Russian meddling during the 2016 US presidential campaign.
It plans to expand existing election law covering television and radio outlets to apply to paid internet and digital advertisements on platforms like Facebook, Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google.
Under the Honest Ads Act, digital platforms with at least 50 million monthly views would need to maintain a public file of all electioneering communications purchased by anyone spending more than $500.
The legislation would also require online platforms to make “all reasonable efforts” to ensure that foreign nationals and entities are not buying political ads to influence the US electorate.
The bill’s sponsors said they welcomed Facebook’s support.
Users will find out on Monday if their data was comprised by Cambridge Analytica
Facebook will message the 87 million users whose data might have been shared with Cambridge Analytica on Monday.
Facebook has revealed more than 300,000 Australians may have had their private data used without their knowledge.
The political data-mining firm allegedly used ill-gotten Facebook user data in its efforts to sway elections.
Cambridge Analytica says it only ever received data on 30 million users.