Facebook adds disappearing messages in Messenger and Instagram

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Facebook hasn’t shied away from borrowing features from its competitors. Instagram benefited from the introduction of Stories, which aped on Snapchat’s core utility. Now, Facebook is looking toward Snapchat for inspiration again with the release of “Vanish Mode.” The new feature arrives as part of a major redesign to Messenger that Facebook announced in September.

Coming to Facebook Messenger and Instagram, Vanish Mode is an ephemeral messaging feature that will allow users to send texts, photos, voice messages, emoji, and stickers that disappear automatically. Facebook said that messages will disappear after they’re seen and you leave the chat, with no traces left in your chat history.

Facebook Instagram Vanish Mode

Instagram has for a while included an element of disappearing messages in its platform, with the ability to send photos and videos that vanish after they are viewed. Facebook is marketing the new feature as a fun way to share stuff that you don’t necessarily want to stick around forever, like an embarrassing selfie. Or as a video demonstrating the feature puts it, Vanish Mode allows users to “live in the moment.”

Vanish Mode is opt-in only, so you have to acknowledge the feature before using it with someone in a chat. Once the feature is enabled, messages will disappear automatically. If someone takes a screenshot of your conversation, you’ll be notified. Conversations can also be reported, and will include messages up to one hour after they disappear in the report.

To use Vanish Mode, you can swipe up on your mobile device in an existing chat thread. You can also turn the feature on and off in the settings of a particular chat message or group thread. To exit Vanish Mode, swipe up again and you’ll be back in your regular chat.

The feature has already rolled out to some users in Messenger, with a wider rollout happening in the U.S. and a handful of other countries. Instagram will get Vanish Mode in the U.S. and other countries soon. You must update to the new Instagram message experience in order to experience the new mode.

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