Facebook is adding “vanish mode” to Messenger.
The feature makes messages disappear after they’re seen and the chat is closed.
The idea, according to Facebook, is to “be in the moment, and share with close friends and family without worrying about your chats sticking around.” In a press release, Facebook says the feature is best suited for memes, GIFs, stickers, or reactions that are cool when you send them, but you may not want them to stick in your chat history.
To turn the feature on, swipe up on your phone in an existing chat thread, and you’ll be in vanish mode. If you swipe up again, you’ll return to regular chat. To familiarize users with the feature, Facebook added an explainer screen that appears when you first swipe up.
The feature is opt-in, meaning both parties in the chat will have to approve it for it to become active. And there are several privacy features built in; for example, if someone takes a screenshot of your chat while you’re in vanish mode, you’ll be notified.
In September, the company rolled out the option to connect Instagram direct messages with Messenger. And last week, disappearing messages were added to WhatsApp — with the important distinction that such messages only disappear after seven days.
Vanish mode is slowly rolling out to Messenger and Instagram. For now, it’s available on Messenger in the U.S. and “a handful of other countries,” and it’s soon coming to the EU. On Instagram, it’s already available in several countries, but will be coming to the U.S. “in the coming weeks.”