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Facebook trial lets users schedule self-deleting posts

Facebook has begun trialling a new feature that allows users to schedule the deletion of their posts in advance.

Several users noticed that the feature had been introduced to the iOS app earlier this week and Facebook has since confirmed that it is testing the feature.

Read more: Snapchat springs surprise update to rival Facebook Messenger (opens in new tab)

"We're running a small pilot of a feature on Facebook for iOS that lets people schedule deletion of their posts in advance," said a company spokesperson.

The social network often introduces new features on a restricted basis, allowing it to gather feedback and assess user reaction before deciding whether to implement the changes across all its users.

Based on screenshots that have been circulated by users, Facebook allows you to choose between one hour and seven days, after which the chosen status will be automatically deleted.

Users should note however, that although the message will disappear from their profile immediately, it will still be accessible from Facebook's servers, as it can take up to 90 days for information to be completely removed from the firm's offline backups.

The introduction of the new feature comes shortly after the social network entered the self-deleting app market. Facebook launched Slingshot earlier this summer, allowing users to set a time limit, after which their sent images are deleted. The market space has become a crowded one recently, with Facebook's app competing against the likes of Snapchat and Instagram's Bolt.

Read more: Microsoft launches WindUp, its own Snapchat rival (opens in new tab)

In any case, it will be interesting to see if Facebook's latest feature is a popular one with trial users and whether it will eventually see a full-scale roll out.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.