Facebook's Updates for Europe Chatbot Users and How to Work with Them

Facebook has restored access to the following features:
  • displaying buttons in the web version of Messenger;
  • displaying attachments (now you can send not only images, but also files);
  • displaying product cards;
  • displaying the chat menu;
  • displaying buttons and a checkbox with "Send to Messenger" in subscription widgets and the “Chat” type of subscription widget;
  • transfering a cover photo from the Facebook subscriber's profile;
  • launching a flow by a URL (by passing additional user parameters in the URL https://m.me/username?ref=somedata)

You can read more about the changes in 2021 in the changelog from Facebook.

On December 16, 2020 Facebook made a number of changes to the Facebook Messenger API for platform for users from Europe. The changes are made to stay in accordance with new rules on the protection of personal data in the EU. The changes will lead to limited chatbot functionality for a group of users.

Further, in the article, we will learn who falls under the restrictions, which functionality will stop working, and what analogues can be replaced.

Who’s Affected

The changes on December 16 affect a group of users from the 27 countries of the European Union, as well as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and the UK.

There are three groups of users:

  • Facebook pages registered in the specified countries,
  • Facebook pages with a page administrator from the specified countries,
  • Chatbot subscribers from the specified countries.

Thus, if the Facebook page or the page administrator is registered in the specified countries, then the restrictions will affect all chatbot users.

If the Facebook page and the page administrator are not from the specified countries, but there are users from the specified countries, only these users will be affected by the restriction.

List of Restrictions

Below is a description of the functionality that will be affected by the changes, and analogy options for replacing this functionality in accordance with the EU privacy policy.

Function Description of restriction What can use

For the desktop version of Messenger, you will not be able to receive or send attached media files (audio, video, pdf).

Instead of a file, the user will see an "Attachment unavailable" error.

For all Messenger platforms, sending images is allowed.

Product card

For users of the desktop version, product cards (gallery of cards from the title, description and button) are unavailable.

Instead of a product card, the user will see an "Attachment unavailable" error.

IOS and Android users will be able to view the gallery and follow the links.

Buttons with a link, "Call" buttons, and "Continue flow" buttons

Buttons will not be available for the desktop version.

Instead of a button, the user will see an "Attachment unavailable" error.

To continue communicating with a chatbot in the desktop version, you will need to receive a message from the user with a keyword.

IOS and Android users will be able to see and follow the link in a button and continue the script. The functionality will remain the same.

To support all platforms, including desktop users, you can add links on the site or phone number directly to the text of the message, and launch the following blocks of the flow through "Quick reply" buttons.

Launching a bot via a URL

Launching a specific trigger flow by clicking on a link; launching the flow through a widget will not be available.

This also includes clicks on Facebook ad campaigns via JSON.

The user can write a message with a keyword to the chatbot to start the flow.

Also, links m.me remain available, which will redirect the user to your business page, where you can start communication.
You can customize the welcome message in the bot settings, indicating how to start working with the chatbot before clicking the “Get Started” button.

Welcome flows (flows that run after subscribing to a bot) will also work, but with the above restrictions.

Chats menu The chat menu (persistent menu with links to launch various flows) will not be available You can add the keyword “menu” to launch a trigger flow with information about your company.
Subscriber Profile Information When subscribing, the user's name and profile photo will not be shared and displayed in your audience list by default.

You can save this data using the "user input" function and save this information for personalization.

It also remains possible to add tags and variables. You can assign them using the "Action" element.

Additional solutions are in development

Typing text imitator

In a message, you will not be able to separate different blocks of text with an indicator that simulates typing a response.

Statistics Statistics on message openings and delivery will also not be transmitted  

The information is still being updated and supplemented. Check back soon

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