As of July 18, 2017, you may have noticed changes to the way Facebook link preview works on the platform. You probably noticed your Facebook link previews not working, or looking different than you remember after posting articles in the past.
I’d like to share an update on link preview modification that has already received mixed reviews from publishers. Many feel the Facebook link preview changes are more harmful to their news-sharing capabilities than help.
What is a Facebook Preview?
Facebook previews, also known as link previews or snippets, include the images, headlines, and descriptions that accompany a shared Facebook link. In a nutshell, Facebook updated how it shares images and content as link previews from websites and blogs. It represents a serious (albeit arguably misguided) effort from Facebook to combat fake news sharing through its update on link preview modification.
In a June 28, 2017, press release, Facebook announced the Graph API version 2.9 modified link preview update. It took effect July 18, 2017. According to the announced Facebook API 2.9 update, users are no longer able to manually change their Facebook page preview snippets. Modified images, titles, and link descriptions in their posts shared to the Facebook platform are no longer allowed.
According to the announced update, users can’t manually change their snippets. Modifying link previews – including the images, titles, and link descriptions in their posts shared to the Facebook platform – will also not be allowed.
About Facebook Graph API Version 2.9
“As part of our continuing efforts to stop the spread of misinformation and false news on our platform, earlier this year at F8 we announced an important change to our Graph API. Graph API version 2.9 includes a 90-day deprecation of the ability to edit previews attached to link posts. We’d like to share more details on the coming change.
By removing the ability to customize link metadata (i.e. headline, description, image) from all link sharing entry points on Facebook, we are eliminating a channel that has been abused to post false news. We also understand that many publishers have workflows that rely on overwriting link preview metadata to customize how their content appears to audiences on Facebook. We’re committed to a solution that supports them.[…] Our goal is to support publisher workflows and app functionality while limiting malicious misrepresentations of underlying link content. As content customization evolves, we continue to work closely with our partners to support the best tools for sharing links on Facebook.”
Modifying Link Previews Facebook
This new Facebook update is important. Businesses must ensure their Facebook preview link accurately reflects the correct metadata for their regularly shared website content.
What does the modified link preview update mean for casual users?
Most casual users will immediately notice that their Facebook link previews are not working.
The new Facebook API changes mean that regular Facebook users will no longer be able to manually edit Facebook link preview elements. This includes Facebook link preview image placeholders, headlines, and content descriptions that accompany shared articles.
Instead, all metadata will be pulled directly from the original source.
What does it mean for bloggers or content aggregators?
If you’re a blogger, check that your metadata is accurate and optimized for Facebook. This will ensure their Facebook preview image and other content is shared correctly and accurately on the platform.
Ensure your blog metadata, headlines, and images are completely filled out within your content management system (CMS). This includes WordPress, Blogger, and others.
For content aggregators, the new updates and Facebook link changes mean that editors are no longer be able to make corrections or changes to the displayed metadata. The Facebook link preview image and descriptions that accompany shared links on the Facebook platform can no longer be edited within Facebook itself.
What about sites that publish fake stories?
Unfortunately, these sites will still be able to publish fake news and share to Facebook.
What about false headlines from publishers?
This new update does not prevent false headlines, descriptions, or images published on actual websites.
It does, however, prevent publishers from changing the displayed data within the Facebook platform to mislead readers.
This policy seems aimed at 3rd parties who distort stories and headlines. How does it stop fake news from sources?
Quite frankly, this policy change does not stop fake news at the published source. It does, however, prevent Facebook users from deliberately misleading readers with bait and switch headlines, descriptions, and images within the Facebook platform itself.
Readers and Facebook users should still be vigilant in their efforts to thoroughly investigate all news sources for honesty and accuracy before sharing or spreading any news on the Facebook platform.
Are you a business or blogger? Need help?
If you are a blogger or business with questions, I’m happy to assist in rewriting and re-uploading your site’s pages. This includes images, blog posts, metadata, and displayed content descriptions.
For personalized help navigating this change, please reach out.
You can also book a free initial consultation to discuss your website’s SEO needs in more detail.
I run a boutique content strategy and digital marketing consultancy. I help businesses evolve into premium brands and connect with their dream clients by crafting compelling copy and utilizing white hat SEO practices.
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