Everyone probably has an embarrassing history of old messages better left untouched — for many reasons. Apparently, a bug within Facebook is causing these cringe-worthy threads to haunt users, with the ancient messages reappearing as new ones.
Several users started reporting the incident just recently, saying that old messages, some of them from many years ago, are automatically resurfacing sans context or explanation. Facebook has since acknowledged and confirmed that the issue is indeed happening. A bug is somehow treating old messages as new, and they're popping up in the Messenger tab on the desktop version of Facebook, the company confirmed.
"Some people are seeing older messages on Facebook.com. We are aware of the issue and are actively working to resolve it in as soon as possible," a Facebook spokesperson said. "We apologize for the inconvenience." Facebook didn't explain why the issue is happening.
Slight Mishap Or Major Issue?
Although this might seem like nothing more than a slight mishap, some have expressed concern that the bug could resurface messages they would much rather forget. Facebook has been the de facto messaging platform for many people, and in some countries it might even be more pervasive than texting.
Suffice it to say that all kinds of conversations have transpired within the platform, including ugly fights, friendship-breaking ultimatums, and worse yet, breakups. Imagine those messages coming back to haunt a person who has long moved on from such painful memories.
More than anything, this mishap also serves as a reminder that, unless a user actively deletes the history between them and another friend, Facebook keeps their entire conversation on their servers, including the very first set of messages they exchanged.
Sometimes, that could be good — some people often love to reminisce. But the idea of a personal conversation etched for eternity on the web is also a disturbing thought. As such, it could be a shock if someone suddenly discovers that an old message has popped up on the recents list, especially if it's from a former relationship or a relative who has passed away.
Not The First Time
For Facebook, this issue isn't new. Back in 2015, its "On This Day" throwback feature started resurfacing painful memories for many users. That's because the algorithm in charge of curating those memories had not been able to distinguish which memories are celebratory and which ones were morbid.
Facebook is an avenue storing a lot of memories, both happy and painful, for billions of people. This issue makes that very clear. It highlights the vast trove of information the company keeps on its users, including very personal information.