Facebook has been secretly deleting some messages CEO Mark Zuckerberg sent through its Messenger application, an option that hasn't been available to most of the social network's 2.2 billion users. The company says it has been removing Zuckerberg's messages from the inboxes of various people for several years. The recipients of Zuckerberg's messages weren't informed before that happened.
Facebook is making the acknowledgment Friday after TechCrunch first reported the tactic.
Facebook says it began erasing the messages of Zuckerberg and a few other top executives in 2014 after computer hackers obtained and released emails from Sony Pictures executives. The Sony messages included disparaging remarks about movie stars and other people in the entertainment industry.
Although the ability to automatically delete sent texts hadn't been previously available, Facebook says it now plans to make it available to all users. The company apologized for not doing so sooner.
The development comes as Facebook faces questions about trust in light of one of its worst privacy scandals in its 14-year history.
The company also announced on Friday two more steps the company is taking to head off interference in the 2018 midterm elections. From now on, Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook blog post, advertisers who want to run political or issue ads will have to be verified.
"To get verified, advertisers will need to confirm their identity and location," Zuckerberg wrote. "Any advertiser who doesn't pass will be prohibited from running political or issue ads."
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