It wasn’t that long ago that we saw WhatsApp introducing self-destructing messages. The feature allows users to send messages that delete themselves seven days later. This functionality has been improved for Facebook’s other instant messaging apps, Instagram and Messenger, in the form of Vanish Mode. It sounds like the name of a very low-budget magician’s show but it’s certainly much cooler than that.
Vanish Mode evolves WhatsApp’s self-destructive messages, placing more emphasis on immediacy. Now users on either app can send messages that delete themselves as soon as they are viewed and the chat is closed. Which kinda just sounds like… Snapchat? You think Snapchat ever gets tired of Facebook always stealing its ideas?
So how do you activate Vanish Mode?
It’s remarkably easy to activate Vanish Mode, but in case the details elude you, we’ll walk you through it. First, make sure either your Facebook Messenger or Instagram are properly up to date. From there, head into a chat and swipe up within the thread. You know you’ve swiped long enough when a loading circle appears and your screen goes black. That means you’re in, baby. Vanish Mode has been activated.
We’re making it sound a lot cooler than it really is. Vanish Mode totally does sound like a Bruce Willis movie from the 90s, though. He probably blows things up.
It’s handy for people who want to send secrets on the fly but… why are you sending secret information to anyone on Facebook Messenger? Oh, you’ll also be sent a notification if someone takes a screenshot of messages sent in Vanish Mode. Which is a nice way of making it feel even more like Snapchat.
The feature is currently rolling out to all Instagram and Messenger users, starting with the US. So if you’re in South Africa, expect it to arrive at some point this weekend. Actually, let’s be cautiously optimistic about it and just say next week.