On December 2nd, Facebook announced they'll be updating their Messenger API which will impact many of the 300.000+ chatbots that are currently live on this platform.
Beginning December 16th, several parts of the Messenger API, including those showing Buttons, Carousels and Persistent Menus, will be unavailable for developers and businesses in Europe, and for people in Europe who connect with businesses globally.
We created this guide to help you understand what is changing exactly and what you can do on the Chatlayer.ai platform to minimise the impact on your bot.
We will guide you through a couple of questions to help you determine if your bot will be impacted by the new changes from Facebook.
Only bots that are published on Facebook Messenger will be impacted. If your bot is not on this channel, there will be no impact for you.
If you do have a bot published on Facebook Messenger, it might be impacted. Keep reading to find out more.
Facebook's API updates only impact businesses and bot users located in Europe.
Bots that are live on non-European Facebook pages and talk to non-European customers will not be affected by these updates.
If you want to know if your page will be impacted, go to developers.facebook.com, open your app, go to Messenger settings and find the following box:
Enter your page ID to check if your page is affected by the new updates.
Only users that access Facebook Messenger through the website messenger.com, or through the chat plugin, will be impacted. Conversations happening on the Facebook Messenger app on Android and iOS devices will not be impacted.
Only the messages that contain a carousel (also called generic template), a button template, or media other than images (video, files, audio) will be impacted.
All other messages (normal text messages, webviews) will remain the same.
Starting December 16th, if the page, user location and device of the user fits the criteria above, users will no longer be able to see messages that contain one or more of the items below:
Carousel (also called generic template)
Media other than images (video, files, audio)
All typing indicators and read reports will not be shown to the user
m.me links with a referral will not work anymore
The persistent menu or hamburger menu will not be shown to the user
The locale parameter, which is used to determine the user's language, as well as the first and last name of the user, cannot be retrieved any longer, even if those permission has been granted for your app.
The following Facebook Messenger features will not be impacted by the updates:
Get Started button
There are a few steps you can take to prepare your bot for the changes that are coming.
Facebook recommends URL buttons to be converted into a message containing a URL. Users can click that URL to get to the same place.
Remove all media except for images
Video's, audio and files can be replaced with a direct link to the file itself
Remove the persistent menu of your bot
If you want detailed advice on how to keep a good conversation design with a buttonless bot, we have written a guide "How to create a buttonless bot" to help you out.
As soon as Facebook released their official statement, we created this guide. We aren't sure why Facebook is releasing this information so close to the deadline, but we are doing our best to prepare and help you.
Facebook said this in their official release:
We are currently working to restore these features and will continue to update this document (...) with the details as they are available.
That means that right now, we don't really know what exactly will change in their policies before December 16th...
Most likely, these changes are caused by ongoing litigation between Facebook and the members of the European Economic Area. Facebook is updating their Messenger API as part of their efforts to comply with new privacy rules in Europe.
This guide contains all information we have so far, and is being updated every time we receive more information. But if you still have questions specific to your bot, feel free to get in touch with us.