In 2020, Facebook has changed its policy regarding Facebook Messenger, causing you to change your chatbot flows in order to comply with the new regulations.
These new regulations are made to enhance the user experience of Facebook users and allows you to think twice about the user experience you are delivering.
In this post, I will talk about these new changes and gives you a hands-on cheatsheet so you can comply with the new regulations!
Table of Contents
Why did Facebook change its rules?
Facebook has changed its policy because they want to improve the experience for Facebook users. Facebook says that the policies are designed to encourage businesses to:
- Respond to customers in a timely fashion when they reach out
- Share important updates that are personally relevant to their customers
The third reason, which Facebook did not mention explicitly, is that is not possible anymore to spam people through Facebook Messenger with your chatbot.
What has changed?
The new regulations change the way how you can send messages to people and relate only to promotional messages.
Promotional messages are messages that you send to your audience in order to promote your product, website, blog, etc. A great example of a promotional message is an e-mail blast.
Therefore, Facebook made two important changes: the 24-hour window and message tags.
Every time a user communicates with your chatbot, a “24-hour messaging window” will open. Within this window, you can send every message to the user, with absolutely no constraints.
This means that every time the user interacts with your chatbot, the “24-hour messaging window” will start over again. So take this example:
User interacts with your chatbot. *24-hour messaging window starts*
The user does not interact for 4 hours, so there are still 20-hours left in the messaging window.
After an additional 4 hours, the user interacts again with your chatbot. *24-hour messaging window starts over*
And this will go on and on, until the user does not interact with your chatbot anymore and the 24-hour messaging window is over.
But what about messages outside the 24-hour window?
Facebook has created four specific scenarios in which you can send messages outside the 24-hour window. These four scenarios are also called the “four tags“.
The reason behind it, is that the message that you are sending needs to be tagged with one of those four tags, otherwise the message will not be delivered to the user.
The four tags are:
- Confirmed Event Update
This is the tag you need when you send the user reminders or updates for an event they have registered for (e.g. event updates or purchased tickets). This tag can be used for upcoming events and events in progress.
- Post Purchase Update
A message with this tag notifies the user of an update on a recent purchase.
Examples are the confirmation of a transaction or notification of shipment status.
- Account Update
A message with this tag notifies the user of a non-recurring change to their application or account.
Examples are a change in application status or notification of suspicious activity
- Human Agent
This tag allow human agents to respond to user inquiries. Messages can be sent within 7 days after a user message.
Note: this tag is still in beta version and can only be used by beta-testers.
But, what about messages without these tags?
And now I hear you think, what about messages that don’t relate to one of those tags?
There are three options: Use the One-Time Notification, pay Facebook to send messages or go omnichannel.
With the One-Time Notification, you ask inside the 24-hour window for permission to send a message outside the 24-hour window.
Let’s imagine a product you sell is out of stock. Then, you can ask the user “Do you want to receive a message when the product is back in stock?” When the user wants to receive that message, you can send the message outside the 24-hour window.
This is just a simple example, and I even wrote a more elaborate post on this about the One-Time Notification.
The other option is to just pay Facebook to deliver the messages, which is called sponsored messaging.
This is basically that you need to pay for a message which you send to people who interacted with your chatbot.
What must be said is that often not all the messages are delivered to your users, you can reach a maximum of about 50%.
The last option is to not use Facebook for messages outside the 24-hour window.
In your chatbot, you can ask the phone number or the email of the user and then you can send the message through other channels, such as Email, SMS and WhatsApp.
By the way, omnichannel is just a fancy word for contacting your audience through multiple channels 😉
So, what do you need to do?
You need to go through every message in every flow you have and follow my cheat sheet:
- Can I tag it with one of the four tags (mentioned above)?
If you can answer with “Yes”, tag that message with the right tag and you are done!
If the answer is no, go to the following step…
- Can I transform it, so it fits within the 24-hour window?
If you can transform the message into a message that fits within the 24-hour window, then do it!
An example of a message that fits is when normally you send a sequence of several messages and the time between those messages is 2 days. You can set the time between those messages to 23 hours, so it fits within the 24-hour window and then you are done!
If this is not the case, go to step 3!
- Is it worth paying for?
Is the message so important to you that want to pay for it to deliver it to your audience? Then, use Sponsored Messages!
If this is not the case, go to step 4…
- Use the One-Time Notification or go omnichannel!
If you do not have the money to run an ad on the specific message (or it is not that important), make sure you capture the email, phone number or a One-Time Notification permission inside the 24-hour window. If you do this, you can use the One-Time Notification or other channels to send your messages outside the 24-hour window.
Can I still send broadcasts via Facebook Messenger?
Yes, you can.
But, you can only send broadcasts to the users who engaged with your chatbot in the last 24 hours, so that probably will not be much that users.
So yeah, the effectiveness of broadcasts is decreasing. But, you can still use them:
- Use Sponsored Messages to broadcast your information. This will cost you some money but allows you to send messages to users outside the 24-hour window
- Use other channels (like Email/SMS/WhatsApp) to send your broadcasts. For this, you need the email address/phone number of the user.
- Use the One-Time Notification to send broadcasts to your users.
New Facebook Messenger Rules in Europe
As of December 16th, 2020, Facebook will restrict the use of Facebook Messenger because of privacy rules of the European Union.
These changes affect your Facebook Page if:
- Your Facebook Page is located in Europe
- Your Facebook Page has an admin that is located in Europe
- Your Facebook Page talks to European users
If you want more information about these new changes, read this post so you can stay compliant with the new EU rules.
If you don’t want to get blocked on Facebook, your chatbot needs to be compliant with the rules of Facebook Messenger. If you follow my cheatsheet and go through every message, you will be set for all the Facebook rules.
So this only applies for sequenced message, post comment messages, but the normal bot flow is not affected considering the user will be the one starting the conversation am I correct?
Yes that is right, the normal chatbot flow is not affected when the user starts the conversation.
Hello, I never had any chatbot installed and I got this message on top of my FB page: Your Automated Page Messaging Needs Attention
To prepare for upcoming changes to the Messenger Platform Policy on March 4, 2020, please ensure your Page’s message tag usage follows the guidelines laid out in the Facebook developer docs.
Do I need to make anything? I never engage with people except if they contact me.
Many thanks for your help,
Hey Gey, if you don’t use any chatbot, you don’t have to worry about this notification. The new policy is only applicable to chatbots.
Hey, thanks for the article it helps. One question. I have a course (13 weeks), each week I send one message through the chat bot. Basically it is just a delivery system of the messages. If I put “post purchase update” tag, will it be acceptable? Or how would you make sure chat bot deliver messages if it is part of one purchases? (13 weeks program). Thanks for your time and help.
Hey Robert! I don’t think Facebook will accept the Post Purchase Update tag, because that tag is primarily meant for order confirmations and updates on shipping (things like that). I would just send the user a One-Time Notification request each time you send a message, with “Is it okay if I send you the following lesson next week?” and then the user can click on “Notify Me” and get that message. Since they already opted-in for your course, they will definitely click that. If you don’t know what the One-Time Notification is, check https://chatimize.com/one-time-notification/
I really enjoy the blog post. Really Great.
Thank you 🙂
We have found page name to be violating the following platform policies:
Platform Policy 17.8.1.b: Message Tags: Select message tags may be sent outside of the 24 hour period as described within our technical documentation. Monitor your block rate, to understand how people are responding to your messages. You may only use a message tag, template, quick reply or other structured message for its intended purpose as described within our technical documentation; don’t use message tags, templates, quick replies, or other structured messages for any purpose other than its intended purpose.
This warning is to alert you of the issue so you can bring your page’s messaging experience into compliance without further enforcement actions. We encourage you to review our Messenger Tag Best Practices, Message Tags Documentation, and Messenger Platform Policies to learn more about our policies and recommend that you ensure proper use before sending more messages.
Further violations of this or other policies may result in Delivery Boy’s messaging capabilities being temporarily or permanently suspended.
The Messenger Team
Your Page is at risk of having messaging restricted because messages sent by your Page’s automated messaging experience are violating policies.
how to clean this message i already edit my chatbot flow and messenger setting in my page
That’s a lot ;).
First of all, I would recommend to check out my blog post: https://chatimize.com/banned-facebook/ and make sure you check all the steps in that post.
After you’ve done that, I would reply to the message of Facebook by explaining to them which steps you undertook and that the problem should be resolved now.
I’m currently using Manychat to deliver a 30 Days course on FB Messenger. I use sequence with 1 day interval and Confirm-Event-Update as the tag and I made the course as interactive as possible but there are days when the students rest (they won’t get any messages at all).
Is my Facebook page at any risk?
Hey Yusuf, great question! Yes, I think your page is at risk. The Confirmed-Event-Update tag is for events a user registered for. But an online course is not an event, so you can’t use this tag. My advice is to do the following:
1. Don’t use the Confired-Event-Update tag anymore
2. Set the interval to 23 hours. This way, the user is still in the 24-hour window if you send the next lesson of your course.
3. Use the One-Time Notification if the user doesn’t interact with that message. For more information on this, check https://chatimize.com/one-time-notification/
Thank u for sharing this great content. I have met with the same situation as Lee: the page’s messaing being temporalily suspended, and even worse, one of my page was unpublished by Facebook and we can’t get it back to published status for update any information now.
1. Was this unpublished page tagged by Facebook and will it affect my ad account performance in the Business Manager?
2. Will this unpublished page affect my Facebook account and other pages I have managed? Or the Facebook pages are actually indpendent for their own page performance or quality, are they?
Thanks for your time.
1. Facebook unpublished your page because they thought you were violating the rules. Is there any chance you can contact Facebook to ask for their reason? Also, to my knowledge, this doesn’t affect your ad account performance (as long as these ads don’t go to your chatbot).
2. Yes, The Facebook Pages are independent of their own page performance and quality.
I have received similar email from Facebook and they have blocked my page stating we are violating their policy. My use case is we have a research group for a university researching and everyone who is part of this research has joined the research. This is about health and fitness. How do I contact Facebook to explain all this. There is no where for us to click reply or get in touch and talk/email our support option. Do you have any advice for me?
Hey Raj, the only way to contact Facebook is by contacting their support. Another thing you could do is go to https://chatimize.com/banned-facebook/ and follow the steps I described there.
Hello, I am new with chatbot. May I know that what if after 24 hours can we still manually reply the messages without using the chatbot? Thanks
Hey Kinji! No, this is not allowed. The only way you can manually reply after the 24 hours, is if you are providing an answer to a question of the user. In all other cases, you cannot manually reply after the 24 hours.
Impressive article. After read this blog, i think this blog is very helpful for Facebook users. I will share this blog with my groups. Keep sharing!
Thank you Maria! Love the sharing!
so now they have 7 day for manual replies, no?
Yes, that is correct!
If I have a post on Facebook and a user comments on the post, my bot (Silferbot) answers the comment and sends a private message. Is there a problem?
No, no problem at all!
very nice information
easy to understand and well-detailed
Thank you, Magnus!
hi is this applies on Facebook Business Suite? I’m confused with the term chatbots. I’m only using a regular messenger of facebook business page in the form of Business Suite.
No, this does not apply if you are using the automated version in Facebook Business Suite.
I wonder if I am now using chatbot, can I still reply manually to the user through Facebook Business Suite inbox after 24 hours without using the tag to send order confirmation and updates?
Can I send a promotional message to the user manually using Facebook Business Suite inbox after 24 hours?
If I didn’t use any chatbot, does it mean that I don’t have to comply with these rules and can send any message any time?
Hey Wei! This is a good question, but I cannot give a 100% answer on this. This is because Facebook is not entirely clear whether these rules only apply for chatbots on Facebook Messenger or businesses on Facebook Messenger. That’s why I would recommend to just follow these rules at all time, then you can never get blocked. So to answer your questions with this in mind:
1. Yes, you can manually reply after 24 hours using the tags on the Business Suite. You can always reply within 7 days, as long as it is not promotional and you are answering questions your users asked.
2. No, you cannot send a promotional message after 24 hours using the Business Suite.
3. As stated above, it is unclear whether you need to comply with these rules if you don’t have a chatbot. My recommendation: Comply with the rules.
Hello, thank you so much for this article. If I understand correctly, I cannot use the event tag for my case: We are having 3 consecutive days of live Q+A in our FB group. They will sign up for the event once but I cannot message them automatically with this tag each day. You suggest creating a OTN once they sign up? Can you direct me to a tutorial on how to create this, like a step-by-step guide? I am completely new at this so any help is truly appreciated 🙂 Thank you so much!
Hey Victoria! Yes, you are right about that, I would not recommend using the Event Tag Update 3 times. However, you can use the Event Tag one time: for the first reminder of the event. But for the two other messages (on the second and third day), I would recommend using an OTN as you mentioned.
How many messages are you allowed to send in the 24 hour window? For example follow up messages when someone hasn’t replied…
Hey Ryan! You are allowed to send an unlimited number of messages within the 24-hour window. But always remember of a good user experience and not spam your users 🙂