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How you can unsend that Snapchat message you accidentally sent to your ex

UPDATED: Tue., June 12, 2018, 2:45 p.m.

The Snapchat logo is displayed during the TechFair LA job fair in Los Angeles in 2017. (Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg)
The Snapchat logo is displayed during the TechFair LA job fair in Los Angeles in 2017. (Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg)

Oops, your fingers slipped and sent that not-so-kind message to your best friend. Ugh! Or maybe you should have hidden your phone when you were partying last night, because now your ex knows you’re drowning in your sorrows.

You’re struck with Snapchat panic!

But there’s help on the way.

The ephemeral messaging app is rolling out a new feature in the coming weeks to help you limit the damage of sending messages you really wish you hadn’t sent.

Snapchat will soon let people retract chats that haven’t yet been read by their friends. With the new feature, when a user long-presses the message in the chat screen, a window pops up that includes the option to delete the message. “When you delete a message, we’ll attempt to remove it from our servers and your friends’ devices,” Snapchat says in a notification.

Before you breathe 10 sighs of relief, however, you should know that there’s no guarantee the delete function will work every time. If the recipient has a bad internet connection, for example, or is using an old version of the Snapchat app, intercepting your badly autocorrected message or that embarrassing video may not be an option, the service tells users.

When a person recalls a message using the new feature, the friend who was supposed to receive it will see that a message has been deleted. This works in the same way in which Snapchat friends can see when a person takes a screen shot of a message or a chat window. The delete feature works for messages between individuals and groups.

Temporary messaging — a type of social media that isn’t permanent and searchable – is at the core of Snapchat’s identity. The delete feature could offer users another layer of privacy by letting them take back messages sent in error or ones that they regret.

The new feature comes as the messaging service has been struggling to attract new users and satisfy the current ones. Last month, Snapchat began rolling out another round of design changes in response to the widespread backlash it faced over its redesign from last year. Users complained that last year’s overhaul was confusing and made the app more difficult to use. The company’s stock price was hit after celebrities such as Kylie Jenner and Chrissy Teigen criticized the app on Twitter.

Snap, the company behind the app, failed to meet estimates for revenue and daily active users in its latest earnings report last month. But chief executive Evan Spiegel said he is optimistic that users will embrace the latest redesign.


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