What if you could make your messages disappear? Users of Snapchat, where messages are auto-deleted after a certain period of time, are familiar with the concept. Now, Facebook is testing a similar feature in France. The feature will appear as a hourglass icon in Facebook’s Messenger app in France. Tap on it, and the messages you send will disappear in one hour. Once they’re gone, the disappeared messages will be represented by empty chat boxes, but their content won’t be available. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean the feature, which Facebook calls a “small test,” will soon (or ever) be enabled for everyone. “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,” a Facebook spokesperson told Mashable. Facebook tells us it is only testing disappearing messages for iOS and Android users in France, but it’s possible that the program will expand to other territories over time.
If Facebook does eventually launch the feature globally, it will be an interesting move into Snapchat’s territory. Facebook reportedly tried to acquire Snapchat in 2013 for $3 billion, but the company CEO Evan Spiegel turned the offer down. Another Facebook feature currently undergoing testing garnered a lot of attention in October — Facebook Reactions. The company started experimenting with emoji-style reactions to posts, adding a variety of emotional responses in addition to the regular “likes.” This feature is only available to users in Ireland and Spain.