It feels like this trend already happened, that disappearing messages already had their time in the sun with the arrival of Snapchat back in 2012. But evidently, there's still demand for ephemeral discussion within social apps.
After adding disappearing messages for WhatsApp last week, which auto-erase after 7 days, Facebook has today announced a new 'Vanish Mode' for Messenger, which will see your messages disappear as soon as you leave the chat.
As you can see here, Vanish Mode sees your messages auto-erase after you leave the discussion, so you can share more intimate, in-the-moment content, without the concern of it coming back to haunt you at another time.
Which is not entirely new - you can already set a time limit for your messages to auto-delete in Messenger's secret conversations option. The main difference here is the ease of application - with Vanish Mode, you can swipe up on any chat to enable the function, then swipe up again when you want to turn it off.
That could provide more options within your chats, and see more people using the option, as opposed to setting up a dedicated secret conversation window.
What's more, as with all of Facebook's new messaging options, the functionality is also coming to Instagram, adding more options for your IG Direct chats.
Facebook's beginning the roll-out on Messenger, so it's not available on Instagram just yet, but with the back-end processes of Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp set to be integrated over time, all of the functions available in each will eventually be made available in the other, giving you more options for your chats.
The fine print on Vanish Mode is as follows:
- Only people you’re connected to can use vanish mode with you in a chat
- Vanish mode is opt-in, so you choose whether to enter vanish mode with someone
- If someone takes a screenshot of your chat while you’re using vanish mode, you’ll be notified
- You can block someone and report a conversation if you feel unsafe
So, it's pretty much like Snapchat messaging within Messenger, with the quick toggle adding extra functionality in usage within your existing chats.
Which, as noted, feels a little outdated, like it's been done before. But maybe, that simple 'swipe up' option will make it a more popular, more valuable option, and see more people using it for certain updates as they go. Definitely, you could imagine this having value in some contexts, quickly switching it on to share a secret, then reverting back to normal messaging afterward.
Facebook says that it's slowly rolling out vanish mode on Messenger and Instagram.
Vanish mode is now available on Messenger in the US and a handful of other countries, and it’s coming soon to more places.
It's something to test out in your chats - look out for the update in the latest version of Messenger.