Just when you thought you were finally getting the hang of Facebook’s newest set of rules, the social media giant throws you another curveball. In an effort to fight the influx of fake news, Facebook has released yet another update that tightens up post editing, which could mean big changes to your social site. The biggest changes in this update comes in the form of headlines, descriptions, and images.
Headlines Matter When It Comes To Battling Fake News
Your headline sets the tone. Are you wanting to portray your article as a just-the-facts news piece or is your objective to evoke an emotional response? Your headline could vary greatly depending on the image you want to portray.
Until now you could tweak the metadata that auto-populate from a link that you were sharing. You could change the headline, description, and even the image that appeared. This was great for tailoring content to different audiences and update previews as stories evolved, but it also opened the door for false news.
So Why Change
By changing headlines and images that appeared in the News Feed, fake news distributors could make it look like legitimate news publishers were posting inflammatory or false headlines. They could also bait and switch readers into visiting articles they didn’t expect.
According to NewsWhip, in the two months before the U.S. presidential election more than a third of the top 200 stories about the candidates were from fake news sites. Facebook took notice. In the recent French presidential election, only about 10% of the top 200 news stories about the candidates were from fake news sites.
As part of Facebook’s efforts to stop the spread of false news on their platform, they are removing the ability for a Page to edit how a link appears on Facebook. Starting now the ability to overwrite metadata for previews attached to link posts will no longer be available for most Pages and apps. Facebook is also removing the ability from all Pages to create organic video link posts. This essentially eliminates a channel that has been abused to post false news. But there is an exception.
Exception To The Rule
Verified media publishers will notice a new tab in Page Publishing Tools for Link Ownership that will let them specify the web domain they own and be allowed to modify the previews of links to this domain. By having media publishers specify their domain, Facebook can cut down on the distribution of fake news without having to make a judgment call about each article individually.
Publishers can indicate link ownership for multiple Pages and domains. Additionally, both the Page and website domain must approve this ownership for a Page to have access to modifying link previews from a given domain.
All Pages that are eligible and want this exemption must have their link ownership approved by September 12, 2017. That’s the date when the removal of unauthorized preview editing will be fully rolled out. If you are a publisher and you do not see the Link Ownership tab in your Page’s publishing tools you will need to reach out to your partner manager.
Facebook noted that they are rolling out the Link Ownership feature to media publishers, which includes news, sports, and entertainment Pages because they realized that many of those Pages modify links to their own articles in large numbers. However, Webmasters will still be able to change the Open Graph tags in their site and test them with the Open Graph Debugger to configure the default previews for their content. And video link page posts can still be created through Ads Creation Interfaces such as Power Editor.
One Other Facebook Change You Should Know About
Facebook videos will now autoplay with sound. Facebook mobile users will hear audio fading in as they scroll through videos in their news feed. If they stop scrolling and start watching the video the sound will get a bit louder. If they keep scrolling the sound will go away. Or at least until they get to the next video. Of course, the sound will only play if the user has the volume on their phone turned on.
Losing the ability to change metadata, including headlines, descriptions, and images, on link posts could be a big change for your social strategy. Find out if your Pages are eligible for the Link Ownership exemption.