Here’s why you’re getting that ‘features unavailable’ message on Facebook and Instagram

Millions of people across the UK and Europe were stunned this week after receiving messages from Facebook and Instagram that some messaging features were unavailable.

The reason for this is the implementation of new rules for messaging in Europe – though Facebook, which owns both platforms, has not explained which.

The messages also failed to explain which features had been turned off, leaving users scratching their heads in confusion.

However, stickers on Instagram and polls on Messenger and Instagram are confirmed to have been affected, as revealed on Facebook’s help pages.

The rules affect anyone based in Europe or communicating with people based in Europe, covering all countries in the EEA, which includes the UK and EU countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. There is currently no news regarding when these features will return.

This latest development comes as Facebook faces legal trouble in the United States over its near domination of the social media landscape.

Facebook, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp, has been sued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), on the grounds that it is operating an illegal monopoly.

In a statement on their website, the competition watchdog accused Facebook of “illegally maintaining its personal social networking monopoly through a years-long course of anticompetitive conduct.”

If the FTC is successful in gaining a permanent injunction in federal court, Facebook could be forced to divest from Instagram and WhatsApp and need to seek approval before any future mergers and acquisitions.

Facebook previously paid a $5bn (£3.7bn) settlement due to FTC action in 2019 over breaching privacy laws. As part of the agreement, Facebook improved privacy oversight across its platforms.

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