Most people understand that when sending a text message, through Messenger or pretty much any other messaging service, it stays out there until when and if the recipient decides to delete it. Apparently that is not the case for Mark Zuckerberg, however, who was able to delete some of his outbound communications in Messenger on the recipients' side of things, according to three sources that spoke with TechCrunch.
The sources claim that certain messages received from Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives were erased from their Messenger thread, while their own replies remained. TechCrunch says it viewed an email receipt of a Facebook message from 2010 that proves they are telling the truth, as the messages contained in the email no longer where able to be viewed the sources' chat logs. They were also erased from the files contained in their data archives that Facebook allows users to download.
Facebook is not denying that it erased outbound messages, saying it was within the company's policies, and was done to protect private communications from executives as a proactive measure to the possibility of being hacked.
"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," Facebook said.
Not all of Zuckerberg's messages from before 2014 have been erased by Facebook. However, other unnamed sources have since stepped forward to say that their communications with Zuckerberg have undergone the same type of retraction, with only their own messages still appearing in their message threads. It's not clear what exactly was being discussed and what Facebook and Zuckerberg sought to protect.
Looking through Facebook's terms of service, there does not appear to be anything that states it has the right to remove messages and other content from users' accounts, so long as the content falls within Facebook's guidelines to begin with. Depending on your perspective, it's a little concerning that Facebook wields the power mess with people's private messages, and has admitted to doing so.
At present, Zuckerberg has over 106 million friends and followers on Facebook.
A spokesperson for Messenger reached out to HotHardware and provided 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."