Fire Up the Chat Bots, as Facebook’s Messenger Platform Is Now Open for Standard Messaging

All conversations must be initiated by users, and those users can mute or block businesses at any time

Facebook’s Messenger Platform is now open for standard messaging, with business and developers having a 24-hour window to respond to messages initiated by users of the social network’s messaging application.

Product manager Seth Rosenberg announced the update in a blog post, saying that subscription messaging is still being tested.

Rosenberg stressed that Messenger users will not suddenly find themselves bombarded by messages from brands, saying that all conversations must be initiated by users, and those users can mute or block businesses at any time. He added that more information on those controls is available here.

Rosenberg wrote:

Businesses and developers using the Send/Receive API (application-programming interface) will now have up to 24 hours to respond to a message initiated by a person in Messenger when using standard messaging. There is also an allowance to send one message after the 24-hour window. Each time a person responds to a business through one of the eligible actions listed in this chart, the clock will reset. This new policy allows businesses to re-engage an inactive user, while also providing people with more relevant and timely information that they requested.

 

He added that the same policy applies to businesses or developers providing live chat support via the Send/Receive API, and the restriction on promotional content has been removed for standard messaging.

Rosenberg also provided the following guidelines on subscription messaging, which also can only be sent to users who opt in:

  • Subscription content can be sent outside of the 24 hour period.
  • Subscription messaging must be opted into by a recipient and will have limited functionality compared to standard messages.
  • No promotional content can be sent with subscription messaging. Subscription messaging is only intended for specific use cases and, at time of submission, businesses will need to indicate which use case their experience falls under.
  • If a user responds to a subscription message via one of the eligible actions listed below, then that shifts the conversation into standard messaging and all eligible rules apply.

Use cases for subscription messaging, as described by Rosenberg, are:

  • News: Bots whose primary purpose is to inform people about recent or important events or information in categories such as sports, finance, business, real estate, weather, traffic, politics and entertainment.
  • Productivity: Bots whose primary purpose is to enable people to manage their personal productivity with tasks such as managing calendar events, receiving reminders and paying bills.
  • Personal trackers: Bots that enable people to receive and monitor information about themselves in categories such as fitness, health, wellness and finance.

Finally, Rosenberg detailed Facebook’s streamlined review process for Messenger Platform:

New Send/Receive API Integrations: Businesses and developers with a new Send/Receive API integration should go through the review flow to submit their standard or subscription messaging experience.

Existing Send/Receive API Integrations:

  • Standard Messaging: Existing businesses or developers on the Send/Receive API are automatically approved for standard messaging and have three months to comply with the standard messaging rules.
  • Subscription Messaging: Businesses or developers with existing subscription messaging integrations will have three months to comply with subscription messaging rules and six months to submit their experience for the new subscription permission. During the submission process, they will need to self-select into one of the approved use cases and agree to not send promotional messages. If these businesses or developers have not applied for the subscription messaging permission after six months, they will automatically be defaulted to standard messaging.