Facebook is able to remove Mark Zuckerberg's messages from other users' inboxes — something the rest of us can't do

Key Points
  • Some messages received from Mark Zuckerberg have vanished from Facebook user accounts.
  • Facebook was able to remotely delete messages Zuckerberg sent, a feature that isn't available to all users.
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Facebook messages that Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives sent to other users on the social network were recently found to be deleted from those user's inboxes, TechCrunch reported Friday.

Three unnamed sources speaking to TechCrunch said that messages they had previously received from Zuckerberg were no longer in their inboxes, though the messages they sent to Zuckerberg remained.

Facebook doesn't allow users to delete messages from a recipients inbox, which suggests that Zuckerberg has special treatment on the social network. The company told TechCrunch that the ability to retract Zuckerberg's messages was instituted for legal compliance after Sony Pictures' emails were hacked in 2014.

Facebook confirmed to CNBC that it will roll out a feature that's similar to the one Mark Zuckerberg used to all users.

"We have discussed this feature several times," a Facebook spokesperson said. "And people using our secret message feature in the encrypted version of Messenger have the ability to set a timer — and have their messages automatically deleted. We will now be making a broader delete message feature available. This may take some time. And until this feature is ready, we will no longer be deleting any executives' messages. We should have done this sooner — and we're sorry that we did not."

CNBC recently explained how to download all of your private data from Facebook, and that data include old chat messages that you might have exchanged with other users on Facebook. It typically appears as a two-way conversation with messages from both parties. In this instance, TechCrunch said that Zuckerberg's messages don't appear at all, even in the downloaded logs.

Zuckerberg has previously had access to features that weren't available to some users. Until last year, other users on Facebook weren't able to block him, for example. He was also scrutinized for comments he made while at Harvard, when he messaged a friend that users who trusted him with their data were "dumb f****."

But Facebook's treatment of user data has seen a fresh wave of criticism as millions of consumers have been told they can assume some personal data has been scraped from their profiles.

Read the full TechCrunch story here.

— Anita Balakrishnan contributed to this report.