If you opened Instagram or Messenger today and received a pop-up warning that some features have been disabled, you are not alone. Facebook has selected a number of new features for smartphone owners across Europe.
The social network announced Instagram stickers, personalized responses from Facebook Messenger and a number of other features that no longer work for all users in Europe.
Facebook has notified affected users in the Instagram and Messenger apps, stating that some features have been disabled due to new rules for messaging services in Europe. Other features that no longer work in these hugely popular Facebook apps include surveys, augmented reality effects in DMs, and missing nicknames. European app users will also no longer be able to send certain file types.
European users will be notified of this change in a message titled “Some features not activated” displayed in the Instagram and Facebook Messenger apps. “
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Speaking to The Verge, a Facebook representative said that most of these features will be returning “very soon”.
However, it is not clear on the exact timeline when these features might be available for both the Instagram and Facebook Messenger apps.
Facebook has deactivated these functions in Instagram and Messenger due to the implementation of the data protection and electronic communication guidelines of 2002. This EU directive contains strict rules for the use of data by communication services that are operated in EU countries.
The news comes when Facebook announced earlier this week that they will be moving UK users to new agreements with their California headquarters after the Brexit transition period ends.
Currently, users of Facebook services in the UK have an agreement with the company’s Irish headquarters. However, next year after the end of the Brexit transition period, these terms and conditions will be transferred to US terms.
The news was first reported by Reuters, which said the move would help Facebook bypass EU privacy laws for UK customers.
Sources familiar with the company that spoke to Reuters said Facebook made this change because the EU’s data protection regime is among the strictest in the world. And privacy activists have stated that this change could lead the UK to pursue a looser privacy regime, particularly as it seeks to strike a trade deal with the US.
Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, said, “The larger the company, the more personal information that is held, the more likely it is to be subject to monitoring or disclosure requirements to the US government.”
A Facebook spokesman said users would be informed of this contract postponement within the next six months. If customers do not want to agree to this, users have the option of stopping the use of Facebook services such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.