7/10/17 UPDATE: Facebook has temporarily extended the deprecation deadline of this capability for the Social News Desk application until October. Social News Desk continues to work with the Facebook Media team on a long-term solution.
6/27/17 UPDATE: Social News Desk has met with the Facebook team to voice the many concerns and questions you brought up in response to this post. Facebook has promised to weigh that feedback carefully and update us all within the next week. We’ll keep you posted on what we hear!
File this under: Don’t Shoot the Messenger. As of July 18th, 2017 Facebook will no longer allow you to change or update link headlines or images when posting a link. Instead, Facebook will utilize the og:image and other open graph meta tags to automatically populate the link preview details in your post. For the avoidance of doubt, this means you will no longer be able to overwrite “name”, “description”, “caption”, “picture” or “thumbnail” when you post a link.
I know. We’re all going to need a moment.
The truth is, here at Social News Desk we know exactly why you love and regularly use this capability. It gives your social team a way to update information without having to rely on your CMS. But from Facebook’s vantage point, this has become a dangerous feature, misused by hackers, criminals and con-artists to propagate fake news and click bait. Here’s Facebook’s direct quote:
“Allowing modification of link headlines and images when sharing posts has provided a potential vehicle for malicious users to misrepresent underlying link content, and hence Facebook is removing the capability.” – Facebook Marketing Partner Team
Yep. This is why we can’t have nice things.
So, now what? Well, those Open Graph tags will suddenly become really, really important. You’ll want to check your CMS to be sure it’s properly populating OG tags for EVERY page on your website. Do this now. And refresh yourself and your staff on how exactly your OG tags are populated. If it’s an automatic process, be sure it makes sense and gives you good results. If it’s manual, be sure everyone is doing it, every time. And if your article is text only, be sure you have SOME sort of relevant image in there, even if you have to get super creative.
And yes, since we have no other choice, SND will be working over the next 2 weeks to remove this capability from our tool as well. (sigh) (UPDATE 7/10/17: Facebook has temporarily extended the deprecation deadline of this capability for the Social News Desk application until October. Social News Desk continues to work with the Facebook Media team on a long-term solution.)
If you have questions, or just need a shoulder to cry on – reach out to us anytime: firstname.lastname@example.org.