Facebook Toys With Self-Destructing Messages To Corner Snapchat Market

There's a good chance that you or someone you know uses Snapchat. We're not going out on a limb to say that, it's simply a numbers thing -- at last count (May of this year), Snapchat users were sending 2 billion photos and videos to one another per day. That's an amazing amount of activity, and Facebook will try to replicate that success by rolling out a disappearing message option for its Messenger application.

The self-destructing message option is being tested in France. However, as presently implemented, it's a bit different from Snapchat. Instead of setting a timer for 1 to 10 seconds (in 1 second increments), Facebook Messenger users in France are given the option to have their messages disappear a full hour after sending them.

Facebook Messenger

"We’re excited to announce the latest in an engaging line of optional product features geared towards making Messenger the best way to communicate with the people that matter most," a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement. "Starting today, we’re conducting a small test in France of a feature that allows people to send messages that disappear an hour after they’re sent. Disappearing messages gives people another fun option to choose from when they communicate on Messenger. We look forward to hearing people’s feedback as they give it a try."

We're not sure why Facebook chose France, but for users who have access to the new feature, they can take advantage of it by tapping on an hourglass icon that's now included in their version of Messenger. Tapping it again turns the feature off.

It will be interesting to see if this takes off, especially after Facebook tried to acquire Snapchat on two separate occasions. It was reported back in 2013 that Snapchat rejected a $1 billion buyout offer from Facebook, and again turned down Facebook when it upped its offer to $3 billion.