×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Facebook Admits Zuckerberg Was Able to Delete Sent Messages, Wants to Turn it Into Feature

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has had special privileges to delete private messages even after he sent them, the company admitted late Thursday in a response to a Techcrunch report.

Variety has since learned that a Messenger retention feature, which automatically deleted sent messages after 90 days, had been available to multiple Facebook executives. The company promised to pause this type of auto-deletion of messages sent by its executives Friday, and is now looking to make a similar feature available to its users in the coming months.

“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,” a company spokesperson told Variety Friday. “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.”

Techcrunch reported late Thursday that it had spoken to multiple Facebook users who had exchanged messages with Zuckerberg on Facebook Messenger over the years. At least in one case, one of those users had a copy of those messages in an email. But in their Messenger history, Zuckerberg’s messages had mysteriously disappeared, making it look like people were talking to themselves.

Confronted with this evidence, Facebook admitted that it had retracted some of Zuckerberg’s Messenger messages for corporate security reasons. “After Sony Pictures’ emails were hacked in 2014 we made a number of changes to protect our executives’ communications,” the company told Techcrunch. “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 likely referenced the Sony hack because it resulted in the public disclosure of insider information about one of its key competitors, Snapchat maker Snap Inc. The emails that leaked after the Sony hack included some from former Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO and chairman Michael Lynton, who was also a board member of Snap at the time, and who had exchanged emails with a Snap executive about the company’s acquisitions and product road map. After the hack, Lynton resorted to faxing his memos for some time; he went on to leave Sony and become Snap’s chairman.

This latest scramble wraps up a hectic week for Facebook, during which its senior executives went on a media tour to limit the outfall in response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg used a series of TV interviews as well as a call with reporters to apologize for the company’s past failures. Most of these appearances were light on news, but Zuckerberg did on Wednesday commit to making product changes the company has to implement in response to new European privacy regulations available worldwide. And on Thursday, Sandberg revealed that some advertisers had paused their campaigns in light of recent revelations.

Update: 10:28am PT: This post was updated with additional details and a response from Facebook.

 

More Digital

  • Amazon

    Amazon Music Launches Free Streaming Tier, Through Alexa Only (For Now)

    Amazon Music today basically soft-launched its free streaming tier, in which U.S. customers of its Alexa voice assistant will have access to top Amazon Music playlists and thousands of stations, at no cost. The limited access that the new free service provides — it’s only available through Alexa, and when the listener requests a song, [...]

  • Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp. Pinterest co-founder

    Pinterest Shares Up 26% on IPO Day

    Shares of the social pinning service Pinterest traded around 26% above their IPO price on the company’s first day at the New York Stock Exchange Thursday as investors were looking to get in on the latest tech listing. Pinterest’s shares opened at $23.75, 25% above the IPO pricing of $19 per share, with the stock [...]

  • Netflix Logo

    Netflix to Open Production Hub in New York City Encompassing 100,000 Square Feet

    Netflix plans to open a new production and office facility in Manhattan — which will provide up to $100 million in investments to New York City and result in hundreds of new jobs, according to New York State Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Netflix’s new corporate offices in the Big Apple will take up 100,000 square [...]

  • MoviePass card

    MoviePass Has Lost Over 90% of Its Subscribers in Less Than a Year (Report)

    MoviePass users apparently hit the exits en masse after it scaled back the number of movies users could see each month: The flailing cinema-subscription provider has seen its subscriber rolls plunge from a peak of more than 3 million to just 225,000 in under a year, according to a new report. The numbers were reported [...]

  • The Nashville, Tenn. downtown area and

    Nashville City Council Sides With Songwriters Against Streamers’ CRB Appeal

    Nashville city leaders have sided against the streaming services Amazon, Spotify, Google and SiriusXM/Pandora in the appeal of the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision that would give songwriters a pay raise. The Nashville Metro Council adopted the resolution as part of its consent agenda earlier this week, although the move is “purely symbolic” and the streamers [...]

  • YouTube Comes to Fire TV as

    Fire TV Gets Official YouTube App, Amazon Video Goes Live on Google Devices

    Amazon and Google have finally made peace: The two companies have agreed to bring their video services to each other’s devices in the coming months. At that point, Fire TV users will be able to access the official YouTube app, and Chromecast and Android TV users will finally be able to watch Amazon Video. The [...]

  • Verizon Media Launches 5G Studio in

    Verizon Media Opens 8 Studios Globally, Including 5G Studio in Los Angeles (EXCLUSIVE)

    Verizon Media, the telco’s content subsidiary formerly known as Oath, has been busy building out its network of video production facilities around the world: In the first few months of this year, Verizon Media opened or upgraded studios in New York, London, Paris, Singapore, Hong Kong, Brazil and Australia. In addition, it also launched a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content