Facebook doesn’t allow its users to delete messages they sent to someone else from the recipient’s inbox. Users can only delete messages from their own inbox, and even then, they remain preserved in their Facebook data which can be accessed using the Download Your Information tool. However, according to a recent TechCrunch report, Facebook has deleted messages sent out by Mark Zuckerberg and a few other executives from recipient’s inboxes.
The report highlights an email receipt of a Facebook message from 2010, which proves that Zuckerberg sent messages to people that no longer appear in their Facebook inbox or within the downloadable Facebook data. When the publication approached Facebook regarding the matter, the company claimed that the messages were removed for corporate security and in a statement said:
“After Sony Pictures’ emails were hacked in 2014 we made a number of changes to protect our executives’ communications. 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.”
While Facebook’s reason sounds reasonable enough, what’s really irksome about the whole issue is that the company didn’t publicly disclose the removal of messages from users’ inboxes and didn’t even bother inform the recipients regarding the same. On top of that, when TechCrunch reached out to Zuckerberg regarding the matter on Messenger, he declined to provide a statement.
A Facebook spokesperson has since confirmed that users can only delete messages from their own inbox and even after they’re deleted, they’d still show up in the recipient’s thread. The company revealed no information about a “retention period” for normal users, which clearly indicates that Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives received special treatment to delete the sent messages.
A number of sources, who requested to remain anonymous, have also confirmed that Zuckerberg’s messages in their inboxes have been deleted and only their side of the conversation remains. However, other users have claimed that recent messages from Zuckerberg still show up in inboxes and messages sent before 2014 also appear for some users. So the matter is far from over, despite Facebook’s insistence that everything was above board.