Have you ever sent a text message in haste or out of anger? Or perhaps you erroneously sent a message to the wrong recipient;  or simply just wish you could take back a  piece of information,  a  picture or a voice recording that was sent as a message? In most cases, the answer is YES! Relax, you are not alone, we are all in this together.

With increasing features and services being offered by app developers,  gradually,  we are beginning to use our phones to do more than just receive calls. We send and receive mails, conduct banking transaction, manage our finances and of course chat. While doing these, it is sometimes possible to send a file or message in error to the wrong recipient(s) or group.

Take for instance,  John,  who was  chatting with  different people/  groups and  perhaps using different chat apps, simultaneously. In one of the chat groups, someone has lost a loved one and group members are sympathetic, sending prayers and hugs.  On another  group,  some members  are out  having fun  and sharing pictures  with those  missing out  on the  action.  And then another group is the MBA class discussing the French revolution and its impact on the European economy. But of course, there is John’s sweetheart with whom he is in a heated romantic chat conversation.

Amid this “Chat  Emotional  Cocktail”;  having to  feel sad for  the bereaved,  cheery with  the party  gang, academic with the class and romantic with the girlfriend, comes so much possibilities. Unfortunately, in this euphoria, John’s multi-tasking ability slips as he sends a semi-nude picture to the grieving group, in an attempt  to fire  up the  already heated  conversation with  his girlfriend. He immediately realizes his gaffe, and with his mouth wide open, he wonders what to do, wishing he could retrieve the pictures. So,  what happens  when we  find ourselves  in such  clumsy situations  as  John?  How do we retrieve that wrongly shared information?

For now, in most cases, nothing can really be done. Some persons in John’s shoes will apologize, others will ignore, but everyone in such a situation will initially freak out.

The upside? App developers are becoming increasingly aware of this need and addressing it already.

Take for example the InstaVoice app, which is a missed call, voicemail management app that captures all call attempts made  when the called  party’s  mobile phone  is switched  off or  out of network.  But more importantly, the app enables its users to withdraw sent messages (text and multimedia), voicemails and even voice  messages at  any time, especially when  the sender  realizes a  wrong message  was sent. Messages sent can be withdrawn even if the receiver(s) have seen/heard them.

Given this enormous power, an InstaVoice user has great control over the information he shares with his/her contacts, friend, and associates. As soon as the user realizes the errors and selects the withdraw option, the message is permanently removed  from both  sender’s  and recipient’s  devices,  even if  the message was  sent to  a group.

While it might have been difficult for John and a lot of us to erase our blunders while chatting, it seems InstaVoice users do not have to go through the trepidation that comes with sending messages in error whether due to haste, anger or oversight; simply because they have the power to retract their words.

Don’t we just all wish we have more apps that gives us this same level of power and control? In fact, not only to retract our words sent while chatting, but also to be able to retract those spoken.  In fact, don’t we just wish we have the power to do and undo anything?

Joseph-Albert Kuuire
Joseph-Albert Kuuire is the creator and editor of TechNovaGh.com, an online digital platform focusing on technology in Ghana. Email: [email protected]

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