Encrypted Messaging Service Telegram Adds Option to Delete Chats on Other People’s Devices

Encrypted messaging service Telegram has rolled out a new update that allows users to delete messages from both their end of the conversation and the recipient’s device.

With the Telegram 5.5 update, messages — both sent and received messages by a user — can now be unsent i.e. removed from the chat, reads a new blog post from the encrypted messaging service. Earlier, this was limited to the messages sent from your end but now, it works for both users.

Moreover, the 48-hour limit to unsend messages has now been revoked and you now can withdraw your or the other person’s messages at any time. Apart from this, the “Clear History” feature now lets you wipe the entire messages history for both users in a conversation.

“The messages will disappear for both you and the other person — without leaving a trace,” Telegram said in a blog post on Sunday. “You can also delete any private chat entirely from both your and the other person’s device with just two taps.”

Telegram founder Pavel Durov noted the that the potential for misusing old messages has recently become a hot issue, as now something can be “taken out of context” and be used to someone’s detriment years down the road. The new feature ostensibly gives users “complete control” over their conversation history.

“An old message you already forgot about can be taken out of context and used against you decades later,” writes Durov. “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.”

Another new privacy-oriented feature in the update is the ability to make oneself anonymous in forwarded messages. Usually, when someone forwards one of your messages to somebody else there is a link back to your account, but for those who want to obscure themselves from strangers, it’s now possible to go to the Privacy and Security settings and tighten the controls under Forwarded messages.

Telegram has also kept accessibility in mind with the latest update and has added support for the gesture-based iOS VoiceOver and Android’s TalkBack. The company also launched an emoji search option.