No, you’re only imaging the opening notes from the Mission Impossible theme song. But yes, Facebook is indeed testing messages that delete themselves. No, it won’t turn your phone into a smoking ruin.
Not for everyone. Yet.
The new feature just allows users to specify how long messages last before they erase themselves from existence. By which we mean both your phone and the phones it’s been sent to. The ability to auto-delete messages is only available in Android beta versions at the moment, though, so you won’t see it working unless you’re into the whole beta testing thing.
How it works is that users specify how long they want messages to last from a new message option called Delete Messages (initially called Disappearing Messages). It’ll land first for groups, and will let admins determine how long messages last.
All the time in the world
Messages can be set to expire after an hour, a day, a week, a month, or a year. There doesn’t seem to be any plan to let users define custom expiry periods at the moment. In addition to rolling out to groups (eventually), it’ll also make its way to standard conversations, where users can define when messages off themselves by heading to specific profiles’ Contact Info options.
The feature isn’t brand new, obviously. Other apps have had it for a while, while others are built around the concept. Facebook does tend to ‘borrow’ from all over the place, though, and it’s time for this feature to be lifted. If you’re keen to try the WhatsApp version before everyone else, it’s currently available in WhatApp beta 2.19.348.