Facebook adds disappearing messages to Messenger and Instagram

Facebook Messenger Vanish Mode
Facebook Messenger Vanish Mode (Image credit: Facebook)

What you need to know

  • Facebook is rolling out a new vanish mode to Messenger and Instagram.
  • Vanish mode enables ephemeral messaging for individual chats.
  • It's available on Messenger in the U.S., and on Instagram for accounts with the new messaging experience enabled.

Facebook in September announced a new feature known as vanish mode coming to Messenger and Instagram. Today, it's officially bringing this feature to users.

Vanish mode is exactly what it sounds like, an ephemeral method of texting that's more like Snapchat than what we'd expect from Messenger. The messages and memes and gifs you send are all temporary, and once you leave the mode, everything disappears. It's triggered by swiping up while in an existing chat thread and disabled by repeating the gesture. It's also a feature that works on trust, so while screenshots are allowed, both parties will be notified if one is taken.

Announcing the feature, Facebook's messaging teams said:

We designed vanish mode with safety and choice in mind, so you control your experience. Only people you're connected to can use vanish mode with you in a chat. Vanish mode is also 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. And as always, you can block someone and report a conversation if you feel unsafe.

Vanish mode is coming to Messenger in the U.S. and select countries, Facebook declined to give specifics in its announcement. It will also be available on Instagram when the new Messenger experience gets enabled on there. Again, that too is rolling to select unspecified countries.

WhatsApp also gained a similar feature as the company shared news of its upcoming disappearing messages earlier in the week. It's s a lot less subdued and flashy than Messenger's implementation, and the name is certainly more down to earth, but the core concept is the same.

Facebook Messenger Logo

Facebook Messenger

Facebook's flagship messaging app just got a bit closer to how we communicate offline with its new ephemeral chats. With billions of users worldwide, it's also one of the most effective communication apps, period.

Michael Allison