Custom Link Previews Are Out: Facebook Cuts Down On Fake News

August 7, 2017

Over the last few weeks, you may have noticed a change in the way you post and share things on Facebook. In an effort to crack down on the publishing of false headlines, Facebook is now preventing users from customizing a link’s image, headline, and description in the link preview.

For years, Facebook had allowed users and publishers to customize these fields to better grasp the attention of their audience on the social network. By removing the ability to customize these link previews, Facebook is taking a bold step in its efforts to combat the spread of fake news across its platform.

Where does Facebook get a link preview’s image, headline, and description from now?

When you post a link to Facebook today, the image, headline, and description in the link previews will default to the page’s metadata and featured (or most prominent) image.

 

Why use the page’s metadata for the link preview?

In theory, the page’s meta title and description will be set by the website’s webmaster and provide an accurate description of the page’s content. By using only this information in the link preview, Facebook aims to display the link’s content in the way the publisher intended regardless of who may share the link.

 

Is there still a way to customize a link’s preview on Facebook?

For the average Facebook user posting on profiles, pages, and groups, the answer is no. Facebook is still permitting this ability for ‘Publishers’ including news/media groups and reputable content creators. If you feel that your usage of Facebook Pages depends on the ability to modify link previews, you can request an authorization from Facebook to regain this functionality.

 

What’s the best way to set the link previews when sharing from my own website?

The easiest way to customize the link preview when sharing a page from your website is to write the page’s metadata in a way that will work well for social sharing and SEO purposes. Setting the featured image is a smart way to tell Facebook which photo you would like used in the link preview. Engaging and accurate meta data Is important for all pages on a website, but take care to consider social sharing when writing meta for highly sharable pages such as blog posts, news updates, etc.

For more information and tips on crafting great metadata for social and SEO, contact the digital marketing team at Brandography!

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