The Messenger Rules for European Facebook Pages Are Changing. Here’s What You Need to Know

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

From December 16th, Facebook Messenger for pages in Europe are changing which affect how you use Messenger and chatbots in EU countries.

Now before you start panicking, here’s what’s happening…

First up, why is Facebook making these changes?

These changes are required due to upcoming privacy laws in Europe. All of the 30 European Economic Area (EEA) countries, which includes the 27 EU member states, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and the UK, are affected.

OK, when do these changes come into effect?

Facebook is anticipating a rollout of these changes from December 16, 2020. You can reach their official Facebook for Developers FAQ here. (N.B. These affect business pages with a Messenger chatbot attached.)

So, who or what is affected?

The changes affect:

💬 Conversations with people in the EU

🇪🇺 All conversations and subscribers for Facebook pages in the EU

👨‍👩‍👦 All conversations for Facebook pages with admins in the EU

Starting December 16 2020, these Messenger features will no longer be available to EU (strap yourself in, the list is long!):

  • Audio and video
  • Persistent menu
  • One-Time Notification (OTN)
  • User profile information, such as name, age, location, timezone, gender
  • Buttons (still supported on mobile devices)
  • Galleries (still supported on mobile devices)
  • All Growth tools (including ref URLs, overlay widgets, etc, apart from Comment Growth Tool, which will still work)
  • Custom Audience from Messenger
  • Live Chat agent information (who you are speaking to in Live Chat)
  • Web Plugins
  • Media Attachments (except images)
  • Persistent and Dynamic Menus
  • Typing Indicators
  • Sponsored Messages (As of Nov 16, 2020)
  • JSON ads and other Messenger Destination ads (from November 16, 2020), including Click to Messenger, and Instagram messaging ads.

Features with new limitations:

  • Buttons will only work on mobile
  • Quick replies will continue to work on mobile and desktop
  • Customer chat will work but it has its limitations, too — all EU users will be shown as anonymous or unknown.

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The good news? These are still functional:

  • Quick replies
  • Message tags (Content type)
  • Conversation starters
  • Keyword triggers
  • Handover protocol
  • Welcome message

So if you are in the EU with a Messenger chatbot, or have an EU client, what can you do?

1. You can still use chatbots — with some modifications

You can replace buttons with quick replies. Instead of creating a button with a website link, place the URL in the message. You can also type a greeting to your Live Chat subscribers like, “Hey, I’m Angela from XYZ company, taking over from our automated responses, and I’m here to help you,” so they know you’re a human and your name. If you have a Facebook page admin based in Europe, and you can remove them from the page, remove them.

2. Make your welcome message work harder

After December 16th, you will be sending users to your welcome message instead of a ref URL connected to a particular flow. So, change your welcome message copy and include quick replies.

3. Go omnichannel

Start looking at ways to embrace SMS marketing and email marketing — you can do this natively in ManyChat, and in Chatfuel via Zapier integration. Think about creating a VIP SMS community. Here are some tips on how to do it. And here are 5 ways to craft emails that people actually want to read.

4. You can still run Facebook Ads.

You can still run Facebook ads! Create a Messenger ad in Facebook Ads Manager (using a keyword trigger or visual JSON ad). While it’s not 100% clear (yet) if these will also cause problems for EU pages in future, this is an option for now. You could also use m.me links or ref URLs within the ad copy, because they will technically work, it just won’t open the particular flow connected to your chatbot, but it will open your chatbot’s welcome message.

Feeling a little like this right now?

I get it!

👉 Click here to contact me via my Messenger chatbot, AngelaBot, and she’ll fetch me to answer your burning questions. 🔥

Don’t forget to give us your 👏 !

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The Messenger Rules for European Facebook Pages Are Changing. Here’s What You Need to Know was originally published in Chatbots Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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