4 min read

Just two days ago, Telegram, announced the new ‘delete feature’ that allows users to delete messages in one-to-one and/or group private chats. This latest feature allows users to selectively delete their own messages or the messages sent by others in the chat. To delete the message they don’t even need to compose the original message in the first place. This feature is available in Telegram 5.5.

So next time you have a conversation with someone, you can delete all of the chats from your device and from the device on the other hand (with whom you are chatting). For deleting a message from both the ends, a user needs to tap on the message and select delete. After that, the user will be given an option of ‘delete for me’ or for everyone.

Pavel Durov, Founder at Telegram justified the need for the feature. He writes, “Relationships start and end, but messaging histories with ex-friends and ex-colleagues remain available forever. It’s getting worse. Within the next few decades, the volume of our private data stored by our chat partners will easily quadruple.”

According to him, users should have control of their digital historic conversation. He further added, “An old message you already forgot about can be taken out of context and used against you decades later. A hasty text you sent to a girlfriend in school can come haunt you in 2030 when you decide to run for mayor. We have to admit: Despite all of our progress in encryption and privacy, we have very little actual control of our data. We can’t go back in time and erase things for other people.”


Telegram’s ‘delete’ feature repercussions

This might sound like an exciting feature but what lies before us is the bigger question ‘Will the feature get misused?’ The next time if someone bullies a user on Telegram chat or sends something abusive or absurd. The victim probably won’t even have the proof to show it to others in the case, the attacker deletes them. Moreover, if a group chat involves a series of conversation and a user maliciously deletes a few messages, other users from the group won’t come to know. This way, the conversation might get misinterpreted and the flow of the conversation would get disturbed. The conversation might more look like a manipulated one and cause more trouble.

The traces available for criminals or attackers over this platform will get wiped off. It is giving control to the users but secretly opening the ways for malicious attacks.

WhatsApp’s unsend message feature seems better in this regard because it lets users delete their own messages and which also sounds legit. Also, when the message is deleted, users in the group chat or in the private chat get notified about it unlike how it works in Telegram.

The feature could also cause trouble in case the user accidentally end up deleting someone else’s message in the group or in private chat as the deleted message can’t even get recalled.

While talking about the misuse, Durov writes, “We know some people may get concerned about the potential misuse of this feature or about the permanence of their chat histories. We thought carefully through those issues, but we think the benefit of having control over your own digital footprint should be paramount.”

Few users are happy with this news and think that this feature can save them in case they accidentally share something sensitive. A user commented on HackerNews, “As a person who accidentally posted sensitive info on chats, I welcome this feature. I do wish they implemented an indication “message deleted” in the chat to show that the editing took place.”

Few others think that this feature could cause major trouble. Another user commented, “The problem I see with this is that it adds the ability to alter history. You can effectively remove messages sent by the other person, altering context and changing the meaning of the conversation. You can also remove evidence of transactions, work or anything else. I get that this is supposed to be a benefit, but it’s also a very significant issue, especially where business is concerned.”

To know more, check out Telegram’s blog post.

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