How to Navigate Changes to Facebook’s Link Previews

Aug 3, 2017 | Digital, Web Services

As marketers, we’re fairly used to the ever-changing digital landscape of social media advertising. Because much of our PR team is composed of former journalists — and because we’ve been alive through the past election cycle — we’re also familiar with the scourge that is fake news.

So it was no great surprise when Facebook announced earlier this year that they would be updating their Graph API to address a channel that had become easily abused to post fake news — the ability to customize link metadata prior to posting.

In layman’s terms, it means that you used to be able to edit your link previews to change the image, headline and description of your post. With the latest changes from Facebook, that feature is gone.

If your motives are suspect and you’ve been pushing a scam URL by reframing the headline, image and content to trick your readers, well, Facebook’s got your number. The jig is up.

If you’re any kind of upstanding publisher that is looking to A/B test posts or customize content to a specific audience, you’re probably upset. And, not surprisingly, publishers pushed back in a big way, leading Facebook to announce an update to the update.

Through a new option called Link Ownership, media publishers will still be able to edit their own links by authorizing certain Pages to edit your website links. Of course, not everyone is a “media publisher.”

What’s a business to do?

There’s speculation that, based on the negative feedback from media publishers, Facebook may extend Link Ownership to other pages. As of now, it seems the only option is to change the Open Graph Tags on your website and individual posts, and to test posts through Facebook’s Open Graph Debugger tool prior to pushing them live.

Luckily, Facebook does have a Guide to Sharing for Webmasters.

Struggling to navigate the changes? Take heart; we’re here to help.

Talk to Gavin.