We all know that feeling: You hit the “send” button only to have that deep regret sink into the pit of your stomach.
Whether you sent a message to the wrong person or used the wrong form of “You’re”, you just need to make that message go away.
Thankfully, when it comes to Facebook Messenger, now you can!
How to delete Facebook messages
If you’ve used WhatsApp, you’re familiar with the ability to delete sent messages. In October 2018 it was announced that Facebook Messenger was also working on an “Unsend” feature, and the internet rejoiced:
Now, in select locations (coming soon globally) the feature has arrived. Here are the simple steps to delete sent messages on Facebook, whether you are using the full version or Facebook Lite.
How to delete Facebook messages on both sides:
- Tap and hold the message you want to delete.
- Click “Remove.”
- Select “Remove for Everyone.”
- Confirm removal of the message.
- A tombstone will appear in the message thread, stating “You removed a message.”
Curious about how that tombstone will look?
We’ll take a look at that scary word now, then go into detailed step-by-step instructions (with pictures!) on how to delete sent Facebook messages.
How will deleted Facebook messages appear?
It’s important to note that, just like WhatsApp, any deleted messages will forever be noted to everyone in the conversation.
Here you can see how an unsent message appears on WhatsApp. For the sake of transparency (a founding principle here at G2 Crowd) and to perhaps give you a giggle, I’ve included the full screenshot.
That text where it says “You deleted this message” is what we call the tombstone. As you can see, the word sounds more dire than it actually is!
Now let’s look at how it will appear on Facebook Messenger. Just like WhatsApp, the tombstone is a simple line of text saying you deleted a message.
In both WhatsApp and Facebook, when someone else in the thread deletes a message, it will appear with their name. (Big surprise, I know!)
How to delete Facebook messages from both sides: “Remove for Everyone”
Here is your visual step-by-step guide on how to delete sent messages on Facebook messenger.
1. Select the Facebook message you want to delete
Tap and hold down on the Facebook message you want to delete. (This is also known as a “longhold.”)
The image will become highlighted, and potential emoji reactions will appear.
How to images source: TechCrunch.
2. Delete your Facebook message using the “Remove” button
Instead of choosing an emoji, click on the “Remove” button that appears on the bottom of your screen.
3. Unsend on Facebook Messenger by choosing “Remove for everyone.”
A box will pop up asking who you want to remove the message for. You’ll be given the ability to do one of three options:
- Delete the message from just your thread by selecting “Remove for You.”
- Delete the message for everyone in the thread using “Remove for Everyone.”
- Cancel the message removal if you clicked the button by mistake
To delete the message on both sides, choose “Remove for Everyone.”
4. Confirm deletion to unsend a Facebook message
Facebook Messenger will give you one final notification that your unsent message will be deleted permanently.
Click the “Remove” button to officially delete your message.
That tombstone line of text will then appear on the message thread.
Now that you know how to delete a sent Facebook message, you may be wondering...
Can I delete other people’s Face messages?
No, you can only delete messages you send yourself.
If someone sends a message or a picture you don’t like, you can delete it from your side of the conversation. While it won’t appear in your feed, it will still appear to everyone else.
How long do I have to delete messages in Facebook messenger?
If you want to delete a sent message on Facebook, you have to do it within 10 minutes.
While this is faster than the 60-minute window WhatsApp allows, Facebook has a very good reason for this time limit: cyberbullying.
With the rise of cyberbullying, kids and teens are instructed never to delete a copy of threatening messages; it’s important to have them on record. By giving the unsend feature a short time period, Facebook hopes to limit the ability for abusers to delete the evidence.
According to Stan Chudnovsky, Facebook’s head of Messenger, the 10-minute time period is designed for ethical message deletion: “We looked at how the existing delete functionality works. It turns out that when people are deleting messages because it’s a mistake or they sent something they didn’t want to send, it’s under a minute. We decided to extend it to 10, but decided we didn’t need to do more.”
How to report a deleted Facebook message that was abusive
If you do receive a harassing message, and someone deletes it with that 10 minute time period, there are still options.
As Chudnovsky shares, “We need to make sure we don’t open up any new venues for bullying. We need to make sure people aren’t sending you bad messages and then removing them because if you report them and the messages aren’t there we can’t do anything.”
To ensure these policies can be enforced, and to protect users, Facebook will keep a private copy of all messages for a short time period after they have been deleted.
To report the deletion of an abusive message:
- Tap on the name of the person you wish to report
- On the menu that appears, scroll to the “Something’s Wrong” option
- Select the harassment category
Why can’t I unsend my Facebook messages?
If you don’t see the “Remove” button in your version of Facebook messenger, keep waiting, it’s coming!
As of Nov. 14, Facebook Messenger’s unsend feature has been officially launched in Poland, Columbia, Bolivia, and Lithuania. There is no official date when the feature will be released globally, although sources say “as soon as possible.” (I know; let’s all say the word “ambiguous” together!)
According to TechCrunch, the unsend message release may be affected by the cut-off date for the holiday App Store.
So, if you’re reading this and don’t yet have the ability to delete Facebook messages on both sides, do your best to remain patient – it’s coming!
In the meantime, you can delete messages from your own Facebook Messenger account. Here’s a quick video walking you through the process:
I’ll cross my fingers you don’t have any facepalm moments while waiting for that “Remove for Everyone” unsend button!
Image source: Meme
More Facebook tips and tricks
With so many regular updates from Facebook, it can be hard to keep track of them all!