If you use Facebook, you know that Messenger is a great way to communicate with friends or family, business associates, and others to send files and photos, videos, links, and other content. It’s a convenient way to share information with specific contacts without making the information public to everyone.
But what happens to messages when they are deleted? Where do they go?
Isaac Newton once said, “Matter can neither be created nor destroyed.” Does this apply to Facebook messages or do they genuinely disappear forever?
We researched this topic and here’s what we found.
Facebook’s Official Response
Facebook has an official answer that states, “Once you have deleted Facebook messages, they are gone and cannot be retrieved.”
5 Steps to Recover Your Deleted Messages
But the Dr. Fone site states that there are five steps you can take to retrieve such messages. They are listed below.
- Download a file explorer for Android or iOS.
- Open the ES file explorer app.
- Enter the folder and select “Data folder.”
- Find the folders that are related to your applications.
- Select the “cache” folder and locate the fb_temp folder.
- Look for the files that you want to keep and extract them from the folder.
Once you extract the files, you may want to create a backup folder on an external drive so that you can have an archive of your messages, photos, and other digital content if you ever lose your content again in the near future.
As a rule, you should keep a duplicate copy of any file that you think you might need again in the future or one that has value to you. You never know when you could get hacked and people could delete your messages or you might do it yourself when you are in a hurry to clean up your archives online.
The Download Method-Archiving Your Facebook Data
Alternatively, you can create a Facebook data folder by downloading your entire Facebook log that houses all of your content on your Facebook account. Follow these steps to follow this method:
- Log into your Facebook Account.
- Click on “settings.”
- Select “Download a copy of your Facebook data.”
- Click “Start my Archive.”
- You will get a popup that asks you if you want to download your archive. Hit “Request my download,” then “Start my archive.”
- The download will start which may take about 2-3 hours if you have a lot of data on Facebook. Your messages should be in the archive in the messaging folder once completed.
Doing a Search for Quick Fixes
When you are researching how to do something such as bringing back deleted Facebook messages, you should search for the process under the year you are searching. For example, look for “bring back deleted messages on Facebook 2018” rather than just “bring back deleted Facebook messages.” This is because often there are some new methods that you can use that will allow you to do it faster or more efficiently due to changing technologies or new tools that you can use to accomplish this.
More Than One Way to Skin a Cat
As you can see, there is more than one way to ‘skin a cat’ as the old saying goes. You can undelete your Facebook messages using your smartphone as we described above or use the method of downloading your entire archive on Facebook to save all files. This method is a lot like using undelete software that you have dumped from your Recycle Bin that you want to revive on your computer hard drive.
Using any of these methods, you will see that nothing is ever truly gone as Facebook claims when you go to their site for help. Instead, it is more or less still “in the cloud” and can be easily retrieved using the right tools and means to do so.
Third Method: Using Code to Retrieve Deleted Facebook Messages
There is a rumor that you can also use some sort of “code” to recover your Facebook messages. Unless you are a professional coder who has access to the Facebook code and front-end programming system, you are not going to be able to insert a code to recover your deleted files on Facebook.
In general, it is best to go through the system that you are working with and by using the tools that are already on the platform to achieve your results. If you have accidentally deleted files on your Facebook page or through Messenger, try one of the methods we’ve shared in this post. If that doesn’t work, you can contact Facebook and see if they can offer other assistance or visit the Facebook forum and ask a question there. Sometimes other users have been able to figure out how to do things that you might not figure out on your own.
Best Practice: Be Careful When Deleting
We all get in a hurry and sometimes we make a mistake. We may delete important emails, Facebook messages, or photos that we need. I’ve done it myself and even deleted entire folders of important videos or text files that I needed for my work or for sentimental reasons.
But as we’ve often stated, nothing in cyberspace is ever truly gone. Like Isaac Newton’s law of matter, nothing is ever truly gone. It doesn’t just evaporate into cyberspace. It just gets pushed back or hidden in an archive somewhere.
In fact, during the recent Senate Judiciary Hearings held in Congress in which Mark Zuckerberg was questioned about how much data Facebook keeps on the public, it was revealed that information is kept for years after someone leaves Facebook and possibly even used without your knowledge on other platforms. This is true even if you have completely erased all of your posts, photos, and data.
So you know if this is true, it is also true that nothing is ever totally gone. If you accidentally deleted your messages, you can get them back using these techniques we’ve described in this post.
But the best thing you can do is to occasionally clean up your social media pages, take account of emails and other digital files that you want to keep and be careful not to delete important files.
If you do, you can find some tools that will help you retrieve much of your lost data or at least recover as much as possible. Look for Facebook recovery tools like GT Recovery or others.
Take a break from technology
One of the best things you can do to avoid deleting or misplacing important messages is to get away from the social media platforms and technology once in awhile. Everyone depends on smartphones, computers, and digital language too much these days.
While it is cool to be a digital geek, the more you are on these platforms, the more likely you are to do something that could compromise your identity, sensitive data, or other information that is better kept to yourself.
So be careful when you are on Facebook and take care in what you delete when you are cleaning up messages. Once you delete it, you can get it back. But it will be a time-consuming process. Avoid the headaches by using more caution as you go.
Guard your First Amendment Rights
Despite the fact that there are many challenges these days with social media platforms, it’s important to remember that you have a unique First Amendment Right in the United States that includes the right to free speech. There is a recent trend to ban, censor, or edit the speech of others all because of its phrasing, political persuasion power, or other means. This is a violation of one’s Constitutional rights and you should report any infractions to the White House at whitehouse.gov or by contacting your local representatives.
Free speech is your right. Protect your data and your ability to utilize your right to freedom of expression on social media or other platforms.
Just be careful when deleting messages and think ahead. Technology is not perfect and mistakes do happen!