What You Need To Know About Unsending Messages On Instagram & Snapchat

Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
You know that unbearable feeling of panic and regret when you realize you spelled a prospective boss's name wrong in an email you just sent? The same feeling usually hits after you send an Instagram DM or Snapchat message with an angry note texted in the heat of the moment. If only you could take back what you typed.
Fortunately, social media apps are catching on to the fact that it's not only nice to include a way for users to unsend messages, it's downright irresponsible not to offer the option. Everyone makes mistakes — especially in the fast-paced digital era of autocorrect — and an unsend tool provides a critical course correction.
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Still, while many apps offer a message "delete" tool it doesn't always work the way you want. For example, on some social apps, deleting a message from your screen does not mean it also disappears from your recipient's inbox. Ahead, a full breakdown of where you can unsend messages on social media — and where "delete" doesn't fulfill its intended effect.
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Courtesy: Snapchat.
Snapchat

Snapchat finally introduced a way to delete Chat messages earlier this month. If you send a note or Gif you immediately regret, simply press and hold the message and select "delete" from the drop-down menu.

The recipient will always see that you have deleted something, so you may have to answer questions about the missing message. But, for the most part, you're safe from them actually reading what you initially sent. This is true even if the person has notifications turned on for Snapchat, since the text from Chat messages does not appear in on-screen alerts.

However, there are two cases when you may run into trouble deleting a message: If you have a spotty Internet connection, or are running an older version of Snapchat. To stay on the safe side, stay timely with your updates and connect to strong WiFi.
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Instagram

Instagram's unsend feature has always been a part of Direct, but it's easy to miss if you don't know it exists.

Open the chat with the message you want to unsend. Then, press and hold the note until two options appear: "copy" and "unsend". Tap "unsend" and your message will disappear immediately.

Unlike Snapchat, the recipient will not see that you have deleted something from the conversation. However, there is a chance that the person on the other end will still receive a notification that includes the text from your since-deleted DM. Instagram is currently working on a way to pull back these notifications.
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Messenger

When you press and hold a message in Messenger you'll see three actions along the bottom toolbar: "Copy", "Delete", and "Forward".

In this case, deleting a message only deletes it from your screen — your recipient still sees it on their end. There is no way to remove it completely, so choose your words wisely before hitting send.

This lack of delete is something of a sticking point, since TechCrunch reported earlier this year that Facebook removed messages sent by CEO Mark Zuckerberg from his recipients' inboxes. Then, as the company faced rebuke for doing so, it said the same tool would roll out to users, though this has yet to happen.
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Twitter

The delete function that's available on Messenger is the same on Twitter: Pressing and holding on a message gives you the option to remove it from your screen, but does not remove it from your recipient's inbox.

There is no word yet on whether Twitter will offer users a more useful "unsend" tool.
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