SAN FRANCISCO: While a common Facebook user can never delete messages already sent to friends or colleagues, Facebook reportedly did so when it came to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
According to a TechCrunch report on Friday, "three sources confirm that old Facebook messages they received from Zuckerberg have disappeared from their Facebook inboxes, while their own replies to him conspicuously remain".
"Facebook never publicly disclosed the removal of messages from users' inboxes, nor privately informed the recipients. That raises the question of whether this was a breach of user trust," the report added.
A Facebook spokesperson replied: "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."
Currently, users can only delete messages from their own inboxes which will still show up in the recipient's thread.
There appears to be no "retention period" for normal users' messages.
"An email receipt of a Facebook message from 2010 reviewed by TechCrunch proves Zuckerberg sent people messages that no longer appear in their Facebook chat logs or in the files available from Facebook's Download Your Information tool," the report added.
The report said that old messages from before 2014 still appear to some users, indicating the retraction did not apply to all chats the CEO sent.
"But more sources have come forward since publication, saying theirs disappeared as well," it added.
Facebook's terms of service don't give the right to remove content from users' accounts unless it violates the company's community standards.
After facing mammoth controversy over its users' data breach via British political analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, the Facebook CEO is expected to testify in front of two Congressional committees next week.
Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer has showed country-specific break-up of people affected by the data breach, saying information of up to 87 million people, mostly in the US, may have been "improperly" shared with Cambridge Analytica via a quiz app, "thisisyourdigitallife," between November 2013 and December 2015.
The app was developed by University of Cambridge psychology researcher Aleksandr Kogan and his company Global Science Research.