In a commendable yet frustrating effort to stop the spread of fake news, Facebook has removed the ability to edit link previews when sharing articles of interest on your feed.
Where we used to have the ability to change the image, title and description of a link, we now have to accept whatever Facebook picks up from the link in question. It’s easy to see how this functionality might have been abused in the past but the loss of this feature is still deeply frustrating to users and marketers alike.
The change was implemented this week and includes a 90-day deprecation of the edit link functionality. Facebook has acknowledged that publishers often need to be able to overwrite the link preview metadata in order to satisfy their clients. They are working with publishers on a solution, which should provide a workaround.
The buzzword of the last few months has been hard to avoid. Fake news is undoubtedly rife and many have turned to Facebook, where this news is frequently shared, to do something about it on their platform.
Implementing this change to their Graph API will certainly assist with the click baiters but whether it will stem the flow of false news, still remains to be seen. In the meantime, marketers and publishers who are accustomed to editing their link previews to be easier to read or more aesthetically pleasing will have to be more careful about which links they share.
This begs the question; will people start sharing articles and links based on how they show up in their feed, instead of based on the validity of the content? And will this have the potential to contribute to the spread of false news instead of curbing it?
Facebook is mum on what the workaround will be but they are allowing publishers to claim ownership of links (i.e. those from their own domains), which will allow them to edit the link preview as they once did.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to third-party links at all, so it’s worth testing links from outside sources to see how they’ll be presented on Facebook before submitting them to your client for sign off.
Facebook has promised further updates and announcements in the coming weeks which should shed more light on how these changes will be handled and what sort of workaround marketers and publishers can expect in order to edit link previews.