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Facebook & WhatsApp Messaging Rules Explained

Summary

This article gives you a quick overview of:

  • Who can use the messaging applications owned by FaceBook – (specifically Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp)
  • What you can use them for
  • How it works – including using templates and the 24-hour window

Who can use FB’s messaging platforms?

Facebook allows the following business verticals to use their messaging applications:

  • Automotive
  • Consumer
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Finance
  • Food
  • Healthcare Technology
  • Insurance
  • Legal
  • Manufacturing
  • Real estate
  • Religion
  • Retail
  • Jewellery
  • Technology
  • Telecommunications
  • Transportation and Travel
  • Not-for-profit

Facebook do not allow the following verticals, however:

  • Adult-content
  • Alcohol/Tobacco
  • Animal Health and Sale
  • Defence
  • Digital Subscription and Digital Content
  • Drugs or Related Products
  • Gambling
  • Healthcare Products and Supplements
  • Media
  • Weapons/Ammunition/Explosives

They don’t allow entities based in the following countries

  • Crimea
  • Cuba
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • North Korea
  • Pakistan
  • Syria
  • Venezuela

And lastly, they currently don’t allow governments, political organizations or state-owned entities to use the system.

What can you use the system to do?

Allowed messaging objectives (use cases):

  • Notifications
  • Customer care
  • 2FA or user verification

Forbidden messaging objectives (use cases):

  • Marketing/promotional messaging
  • Newsletter or subscription-type messaging

The reason for this is that Facebook are trying to stop their channels from being overrun with marketing content, something which we have seen happen with email, and more recently SMS.

So in essence, you can use it to facilitate a relationship or transaction that you already have.

Templates and the 24-hour window

From the time that a customer messages you, (IE they are the ones to initiate a conversation) you have a 24-hour window where you can message them freely.

Outside that window, you have to use templates, to ensure that your message is keeping to the allowed use cases, ie appointments, purchase confirmations and authentication.

(Previously there was a 24 hour plus one rule – where you could do one promotional message after the 24 hr window – that has since been removed.)

If you don’t stick to that, Facebook detect it and shut you down – and so most systems that allow you to access the Whatsapp/Messenger API (Eg Twilio) will restrict you to doing just that.

You can get around that by having multiple channels of contact, where you then get them to initiate contact with you via WhatsApp – so email and SMS become a trigger for Whatsapp and Messenger conversations – as long as you do it sensibly.

Peter Cameron-Burnett

The founder of AgileOS, Peter has over 25 years experience in business and technology. As well as running multi-million pound projects and events, he has written a number of books on business and has run training courses and workshops for business owners and entrepreneurs in countries around the world. He is also the founder of DeliverAid, an initiative that helps disadvantaged children in impoverished areas by providing educational materials and low cost computers such as the Raspberry Pi.

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