Facebook Warns of Impacts to Messenger API Usage in Europe Due to GDPR

This could have a significant impact on Facebook marketers operating in Europe – Facebook has this week shared an update on its developer blog which outlines various restrictions on Messenger API usage as a result of its efforts to comply with Europe’s evolving data privacy laws.

As explained by Facebook:

“As part of our efforts to comply with new privacy rules in Europe, we’re making updates that will impact some developers and businesses that use our Messenger API. Beginning December 16th, several Messenger APIs will be unavailable for developers and businesses in Europe, and for people in Europe who connect with businesses globally.”

And some business users are already seeing warnings – this notification was shared by @OnAirWithRick on Twitter:

>What’s worthy of note here is that this was sent to a US-based organization, which means the impacts could extend well beyond EU brands using the Messenger API.

Specifically, Facebook says that the changes will impact

  • Europe pages in all chats
  • Pages with admins in Europe in all chats
  • Any chats with people in Europe

So there are some wide-reaching implications, which will impact virtually any brand that uses the Messenger API and has followers or connections within Europe. 

The changes appear to be connected to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect in 2018, but has been gradually evolving to cover more aspects of consumer data usage over time. Why December 16th is important is unclear, but Facebook says that this is the date when the restrictions will come into effect.

“Given the impact listed previously, we recommend providing an alternate experience using quick replies, text and inline URLs for webviews for the impacted scenarios.”

To be clear, this only relates to businesses utilizing the Messenger API, so those conducting smaller scale, in-house operations direct on the platform won’t be impacted. It will, however, impact those using third-party platforms (e.g. Hootsuite) to manage their Facebook messaging.

We’ve asked Facebook for more information about the change, but for those dealing with the immediate impacts, you can read more about the changes here.

Thanks to Matt Navarra for the heads up on the change.

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