IMHO, this feature not only just lends itself towards a terrible UX for the recipient but also encourages senseless and lazy message sending, i.e. discouraging the need to review messages before them being sent.
I personally absolutely hate this feature as it immediately makes me wonder:
- What had been sent and why was it necessary to delete it?
- Why wouldn't a simple follow up message of "Oh, ignore that last message" have been sufficient?
- Was the deleted message so terrible, that even my friend would not have wanted me to see it?
- What was the content of that message that they were so ashamed of? Was it a flame message?
- If so, then what had I said, in order to provoke such a flame?
- And so on...
... leading to an endless spiral into the depths of paranoia, which will then ruin one's day/week/month/year...
So, in short, I think is it one of the worse recent additions to the instant messaging universe.
If the addition of a message delete function was absolutely necessary, then it should be deleted without such fanfare. This way, if I wasn't using my phone at the time of deletion, then I wouldn't have been made aware. If I was actually using my phone at the time, then I would have seen a message being deleted (and so, no worse off than the current situation/implementation).
A much better implementation would be to make it configurable, on the recipient's side:
- Delete silently
- Notify deletion (current implementation)
- Do not allow deletion
The sender would then receive an indication (via an icon next to, or overlayed upon, the other person's avatar) of the recipient's deletion status, so that they are aware of how deleted messages will be handled at the other end.