How to Delete Archived Messages on Facebook Fast

by David Nield

Facebook keeps a record of your messages and chats whether you like it or not. Everything you type through the private messaging system is logged by default, though you do have the option to delete these archives at a later stage. Note that deleting messages doesn't affect the copies held by the other participants in the conversation. They'll still be able to read through the messages from their own inboxes even if you've erased your copy.

1

Click on the "Messages" link on Facebook's menu. The most recent conversations are shown at the top of the list on the left. Select a conversation and its contents appear in the main window.

2

Select any of the conversations shown and choose "Actions" then "Delete Conversation" to erase all of the messages the thread contains. Click "Delete Conversation" on the confirmation dialog to complete the process.

3

Choose "Actions" and "Delete Messages" to delete individual messages rather than the entire conversation. Check boxes appear enabling you to select particular messages which can then be removed via the "Delete" button.

4

Click "More" then "Archived" to access message threads that you've specifically archived to hide them from the inbox view. Select a message and choose "Actions" then "Delete Conversation" to erase it.

5

Type a contact's name into the search box at the top of the inbox or archived messages view to look for messages matching that contact. Delete conversations and individual messages using the options on the Actions menu.

Tips

  • Facebook doesn't currently offer a quick way of selecting multiple conversations at once and deleting them as a batch, as of this publishing, nor is there a keyboard shortcut enabling you to erase messages with a single key press. You can press "Alt-Delete" to archive a conversation you've selected, but this doesn't delete it.
  • Archived messages are hidden from the inbox but can still be found via the search tool and from the Archived folder. The small cross to the side of conversations in the inbox also archives threads rather than deleting them.
  • By default the message search box looks for contact names matching the query you've entered. Click the "Search Messages" link that appears underneath the search box to look for matching keywords in the messages themselves.
  • From a chat window within Facebook, click the small cog icon to access conversation settings. You can choose "Clear Window" to wipe the conversation history from the chat box, but the conversation history will still be stored in the Messages section of Facebook.

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About the Author

An information technology journalist since 2002, David Nield writes about the Web, technology, hardware and software. He is an experienced editor, proofreader and copywriter for online publications such as CNET, TechRadar and Gizmodo. Nield holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and lives in Manchester, England.

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