Why messengers don’t allow to delete your messages from chat after a certain time?

Does that mean that you actually don’t own your message after it was posted?

How others might benefit from this? Are these benefits more important than ability to remove your message?

  • I'm not sure asking about the features of most messengers is really a UX question anyone can answer Oct 11, 2019 at 18:10
  • @dougajmcdonald if this is UX feature why can't it be answered then?
    – Runnick
    Oct 13, 2019 at 10:04
  • My thoughts were that the question was opinion based about why features don't exist in "most messengers". If it's more about the reasons behind this decision from a UX perspective then I can see it's validity Oct 13, 2019 at 13:21

1 Answer 1


Usually the "delete for all" is available only until the message has been received by at least one receiver. The message is received when the receiver device is online and synchronizes the inbox.

At that point, it's impossible to guarantee the deletion of the message from the receiver's device, because it can be offline. And also if it's still online, the user can already have read the message. So the feature is disable.

The reason why there is not a feature like "delete for users A, B and C" probably is that it would be overly complex compared to its small usefulness (the users that already have received the message can forward it to the Others).

  • 2
    "the user can already have read the message" - and, more importantly, the user can even have saved the message in a multitude of ways (text copy of the chatlog, screenshot, etc.). With that in mind, a feature that claims to delete a sent message on the recipient's side is purely cosmetic at best and severely misleading at worst. Oct 11, 2019 at 9:05
  • Makes sense. But in my head the only thing that matters is the current state of the chat (where the message is removed) because the user can theoretically fake the chatlog and screenshot anyway.
    – Runnick
    Oct 13, 2019 at 10:07
  • Offline sync is a great point ! But I guess most cases would be immediate deletion of the message, rather than deleting message after longer time periods.
    – Runnick
    Oct 13, 2019 at 10:10

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