To say that Facebook has had a bit of a rough ride lately may be somewhat of an understatement. Last month, the company attempted to set the record straight with regards to the collection of call and text history on Android devices amidst the developing story involving political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica. While initial reports pegged the number of impacted users at around 50 million, new statistics released this week put that number at over 87 million.
Yesterday, reports surfaced that Facebook messages sent by top executives as well as Mark Zuckerberg were being deleted from inboxes, which also ended up being reflected in data downloaded via the platform's archive download tool. When queried about the observation, the company said:
“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.”
Before now, the ability to retract or "unsend" non-secret messages had never been made public or known to affected message recipients, separate from the message expiration feature functionality available in the existing secret conversations feature in Messenger. Having now been discovered, a Facebook spokesperson said:
"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.”
At present, the company has yet to lock exactly in how the feature will be implemented but does bring further into question the integrity of its data stewardship and the transparency of its operations.