Facebook Messenger tests Snapchat like disappearing messages in France

Facebook is reportedly testing a disappearing message option within its FB Messenger chat platform in France. In other words, users would be given the option to have their messages automatically deleted after an hour of it being sent. For the first time, by making ephemeral messages an option in Facebook Messenger, the social networking giant is taking a shot at Snapchat, the company’s biggest messaging competitor which it once tried to takeover.

“We’re excited to announce the latest in an engaging line of optional product features geared towards making Messenger the best way to communicate with the people that matter most,” wrote a Facebook spokeswoman in a statement. “Starting today, we’re conducting a small test in France of a feature that allows people to send messages that disappear an hour after they’re sent. Disappearing messages gives people another fun option to choose from when they communicate on Messenger. We look forward to hearing people’s feedback as they give it a try.”

Tapping an hourglass icon on the top right of the screen in Messenger will allow users to send messages designed to vanish an hour after they are sent. Another tap on the hourglass will turn the feature off. The feature is being tested on versions of the Messenger application for mobile devices powered by Apple or Android software. If it proves successful, the feature would likely be made available in other countries.

With over 700 million users, Facebook could pose a threat to Snapchat, although critics laud the Live Story feature of Snapchat, apart from its regular self-destructing messaging feature, for allowing users to share videos and images ‘live’. The company’s staff then curates the visuals and makes them available for users to experience an event or life through the eyes of others.

“There’s a little bit of every social media platform in a Live Story, though mostly a bit like Instagram and Vine fused into one, which is probably why the platform is such a hit,” explained Fast Company’s P.Claire Dodson.

Earlier this year, Facebook began testing a Messenger app virtual assistant that the leading social network said goes beyond artificial intelligence programs already on the market.

The personal digital assistant dubbed “M” completes tasks along with looking out for information at the request of users.

Los Angeles-based Snapchat has risen to popularity in the United States, especially among teenagers, after the initial app was released in September 2011. In 2013, Snapchat had rejected a massive $3 billion takeover bid from Facebook.

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