Policy change: sharing links on Facebook

Social-media managers, webmasters, and others must remain aware of industry’s changing practices. Here we discuss a big change in how sharing links works when it comes to Facebook pages.

Until now, it has been easy for users of Hootsuite and other social-sharing tools to link to a web page and completely customize (even replace) the page’s images, title, and description. Malicious users might have used this to attract clicks under false pretenses.

Now Facebook has implemented a policy that makes it more difficult to customize the previews it creates for links to your website. Legitimate social sharing — if it is to be as effective as one wishes — requires the web page in question to have metadata from which Facebook can scrape together the page’s images (if any), title, and description without relying on the integrity of the person (or bot) doing the sharing. Specifically, including Open Graph metadata in a web page’s code gives Facebook the best chance of properly representing your links; lacking that, Facebook may try to infer what images and text are appropriate, but you’re losing some control over the decisions.

That said, there still is a way for site owners to customize the links they post to their own web properties. See the second link, below.

icons: Facebook webmaster tools & Open Graph metadata

Sharing links on Facebook, for social-media managers and webmasters

Facebook’s metadata guidelines (“Open Graph” at al.) can be found in A Guide to Sharing for Webmasters.

As of mid-December 2017, in order to customize the link excerpts to a domain, Facebook requires the posting party to be a “Facebook verified domain owner.” Social media managers and website owners can get verified here.

Helpful hint: Don’t panic! If you assign your Facebook Pages to a Facebook Business that you create, don’t be startled if shortcut links to your Pages no longer appear in their usual places. The Business Manager settings must be used to assign the Pages to one or more editors and admin users — even if you’re their sole owner. Once you’ve done that, you can post normally and explore the Facebook Business interface.

Policy change: sharing links on Facebook
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Policy change: sharing links on Facebook
Posting links to websites on Facebook will no longer accept custom images, text, except for Facebook-verified web domain owners. Open Graph tagging is now more essential than ever.
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