App makes it possible to delete, edit drunk text messages

It’s a common occurrence for an ASU student to wish they could take back that foolish text message sent at 3 a.m. after a few too many drinks on Mill Avenue.

The solution to this problem has arrived with reTXT, an app that allows users to delete and update sent text messages.

But reTXT Labs co-founder and CEO Kevin Wooten said reTXT is more than just a tool for deleting drunk text messages.

“You can update a message quickly, rather then send ten text messages to clarify what you meant,” he said. “Yes, you can delete messages, but we go a bit deeper than that.”

The app displays a flag icon next to an updated message that lets the person on the other end know that the text has been changed. The app sends a question mark to the sender when they send an unreadable message.

It also gives users the option to enter and leave group chats and can be used on tablets and iPads interchangeably with phones.

“Everything you do in reTXT is very simple, obvious and easy to get at,” Wooten said. “We made reTXT to remove all of the annoying parts of text messaging.”

The idea came to Wooten when he was having trouble clarifying errors in a long message he was sending to another person.

“I wanted to be able to edit a text message that autocorrect unhelpfully helped me with,” he said. “Deleting becomes an obvious feature to have, but the clarify feature was sorely needed.”

Advertisement sophomore Troy Marten said that he is interested in using reTXT the next time he messes up a text message.

"There are definitely times where I would use something like this," he said. "It's a great idea for ASU students."

The app also takes privacy settings to the next level by promising encryption services that other notable messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp don’t have.

“The communication between your device and their servers are encrypted, meaning anybody at WhatsApp can read whatever you sent on WhatsApp,” Wooten said. “Facebook Messenger...every keystroke is recorded whether you sent the message or not.”

Wooten said most messaging apps make money through a “get users, deliver ads” monetization strategy. However, reTXT launched in April as a free service and still is, but the company plans on charging a dollar per year for its added security features.

“The reason for that is that (reTXT) is private and secure, and we’re not keeping any of your information,” he said. “We’re not going to recoup our cost through advertising, statistics and everything you send back and forth."

Wooten added that these privacy features set reTXT apart from other messaging competitors.

“Any technology can be used for good or bad,” he said. “We think there is a fundamental right for everybody to have privacy. ”

Wooten hinted at future tech developments for the app, but said he couldn’t fully talk about everything in detail.

“We have a cool new feature coming out in a few weeks that is based around secure calling and group calling,” he said. “Everything else we are going to keep secret, but we have a lot of stuff coming out."

Learn more about reTXT here.

Reach the arts editor at jhgolds2@asu.edu or follow @mister_jgold on Twitter.

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