Facebook is Testing Disappearing Messages

Mobile / Tech

New ideas are hard. So why even bother, when you can just wait and learn from the mistakes and success of other companies, taking only the pieces that resonate with users? Facebook is no stranger to this strategy, as it once again copies a feature from Snapchat — a competitor it failed to acquire back in 2013. In all fairness, many messaging apps have implement ephemeral messaging, including Line and WeChat, but let’s face it, Snapchat’s rapid user-growth is the target here.

The concept here is simple. A new hourglass icon shows up a the top of your conversation within Messenger, tapping it will turn on self-destructing messages that automatically vanish after an hour. Any person within the conversation can turn the option on and off, and as of right now here is no way to change the time limit.

Courtesy of Buzzfeed

Image courtesy Buzzfeed

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.” – Facebook

This is not the first time Facebook has adapted ephemeral exchanges. Back in 2012 they launched Poke, a direct copy of Snapchat’s main features. Ironically, the only thing that vanished was the app itself as it failed to gain any traction from the start and was killed of a few months later. Not long after, Facebook also tried applying the same formula to posts themselves; an idea so silly it never even made it out of testing for most users.

Not giving up there, Facebook launched Slingshot. A shameless clone of Snapchat with some truly asinine and unpopular extra features. Although not officially dead, Slingshot has basically been abandoned without any updates since March 2014. Lucky for Facebook, despite a long list of failures, its size and mind-share, allows it to continue churning out copycat features until something sticks.

For now the ephemeral messaging option is being tested in limited availability, but may roll out to more users in time. Is this something you want added to Facebook Messenger? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.

  Source: BuzzFeed
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