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Facebook trials new disappearing messaging system

facebook logo e1476177621689

Facebook trials new disappearing messaging system

Social networking phenomenon Facebook is trialling a new feature for its Messenger app that will see the introduction of disappearing messages.

The feature is being branded as “secret messages” and takes an ephemeral, or disappearing, format with time restraints. This will see Facebook once again attempt to take on Snapchat, the popular photo and video messaging app that is renowned for is timed messages that delete themselves once opened.

This is believed to be the fourth time that the platform has attempted to recreate a messaging service similar to that of Snapchat since its failed bid to purchase its rival back in 2013.

The first attempt was an app called Poke, which was coded in just 12 days back in 2012, a year after Snapchat was initially released. The second attempt at rivalling the ephemeral messaging service came in 2014, after the failed acquisition, when the company introduced Slingshot, a standalone app that functioned in a similar way to its popular competitor. However, this app was pulled less than a year after its inception.

This time round, Facebook is continuing its plans on adding this function as a feature of its Messenger app, after it tested a first round of self-destructing messages on the app just before Christmas.

The feature is currently being trialled and will see messages locked down to one device. Messages sent in the “secret” format will also be automatically deleted after a certain amount of time, set by the user. The messages will also include heightened security features like end-to-end encryption.

Should the feature prove to be a hit with users, Facebook may decide to roll out the feature permanently to all users worldwide. This could be done as early as this summer.

Facebook Messenger has recently undergone a makeover that has seen the layout of the platform completely change, with the introduction of a favourites list, which displays a user’s most popular contacts, birthday reminders and a section informing the user which of their contacts is online and ready to chat.

Facebook has long been hooked on delivering the perfect messaging platform to its users, and has accrued a lot of followers in these bids. The company bought WhatsApp at the beginning of 2014 for $19bn (£11bn). This app has more than one billion active monthly users. Messenger also has a large user base, with 900 million users registered and using the service on a monthly basis.

Alan Littler
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