In order to improve the customer service experience provided through Messenger, Facebook introduced a new policy for Direct Message (DM) conversations on Facebook and Instagram.
The new policy includes rules and regulations on when you can send replies to DMs and what the content of those replies can be. It is primarily meant to prevent spam such as excessive automated bot messages or promotional offers. Furthermore, it promotes a quick and to-the-point customer service experience.
The new policy took effect on March 4, 2020. The rest of this article will further describe the changes on Facebook’s and Instagram's side, as well as within the Social Media Management platform.
Replying to Instagram DMs in Social Media Management
We'll start with covering the Instagram response time policy as it is the most straight forward. Any time a message is received in an Instagram Direct Message conversation, the response window is set to 7 days.
Once 7 days pass after you have received the last message in the conversation, no replies can be made from your side anymore.
Only once you receive a message in the conversation again, will you have another 7 days to send responses.
Replying to Facebook DMs in Social Media Management
For Facebook, Social Media Management will help you navigate the responses policy by introducing a combination of response windows and response types for Facebook Direct Messages. Thus, the reply you can send through Social Media Management depends on the elapsed time since you’ve received the last DM, and the content of your intended reply.
- Within 24 hours
- You can freely respond while the last message you received in the DM thread is less than 24 hours old. There are no limitations to the content or amount of replies that you can send. This means promotional content and automated bot replies are allowed.
- 24 hours to 7 days
- After 24 hours but within 7 days, your replies can only relate directly to the subject(s) of the conversation thread. Automated bot replies or promotional content are not allowed.
- After 7 days
- If the latest message was received more than 7 days ago, your reply options are limited to three response types. Your response must fit one or more of these three categories. We’ve described them in the section directly below. Automated bot replies or promotional content are not allowed.
If you’re responding to a Facebook DM more than 7 days after receiving it, you are required to limit the subject of your message to one or more of the following three Message Tags:
- Event update
- Reminders or updates for an event the user has registered for (e.g., RSVP'ed or purchased tickets). May be used for upcoming events and events in progress.
- Purchase update
- Notify a user of an update on a recent purchase.
- Account update
- Notify a user of a non-recurring change to their application or account.
Before drafting a response, please select the Message Tag that fits your intended reply. If no tag fits your message, your response may not be sent according to Facebook’s policy. In that case, the conversation can only be continued if your customer sends a new reply.
More information on the policy change can be found here and more information on the Message Tags can be found here.
Should your DM replies frequently violate the new policy, your Page might temporarily or permanently lose the permission to send Direct Messages. In those cases, Facebook will send warnings with further details. They can be found in your Page Support Inbox on Facebook natively, under the Settings menu of your Page.
Please bear in mind that the policy is primarily meant to deter spam coming from promotional offers and automated bots. If your company uses DMs purely for responding to customer inquiries, it is unlikely that your Page is at risk of a policy violation.