How To Cheat Facebook’s Modified Link Preview Update
I figured out how to hack Facebook’s latest update so you don’t have to!
But first, some background on the update.
Facebook quietly rolled out an update in July, removing the ability for any Page to edit how a link appears on Facebook. This feature is known as the Link Preview and is a favorite feature for those of us who just want to choose another picture or update the title of the link to reflect the current information on the linked web page. Harmless, right?
Why Modified Links Are A Problem
There’s a lot of shady publishers out there who use this feature for darker purposes i.e. the spread of Fake News. The link title, image, and description are edited to purposefully mislead readers and littering user’s Facebook newsfeeds with more fiction than fact. And as the saying goes, this is why we can’t have nice things.
As Facebook put it:
“As part of our continuing efforts to stop the spread of misinformation and false news on our platform, we’re removing the ability for any Page to edit how a link appears on Facebook. By removing the ability to alter link metadata (i.e. headline, description, image) from all link sharing entry points on Facebook, we are eliminating a channel that has been abused to post false news.”
And it makes sense because this violates journalism’s code of ethics on so many levels – especially since 44% of American adults use Facebook as their primary news source.
For the larger publishers out there (think New York Times), Facebook is allowing them to claim link ownership meaning they’ll be able to edit the preview of links from their website only.
How It Affects The Little Guys
But what about the little guys out there? Small businesses rely heavily on being able to change the link preview. For example, when I’m working on IGV’s social media marketing, I’ll schedule posts to register for IGV’s seminars. So, sometimes I prefer to change the image coming from the landing page so that it makes more sense. I’m sure plenty of you do something similar.
And this, my friends, is how I first found out about Facebook’s update the morning it rolled out.
I scheduled a post the night before with a link to register for one of Karen’s upcoming seminars. The next morning, the image was not what I had set. Instead, it was a giant close-up of my boss’s face. Funny? Yes. Confusing? Very. I literally thought I was going crazy. I think the below gif is an accurate representation of my reaction while I was first processing this.
The Hack You’ve All Been Waiting For
Lucky for you, I figured out how to work around this pesky update. While there’s no way around editing the link title and description, you can edit the image.
How to Modify the Image
This trick only applies if you schedule your posts within Facebook using its Publishing Tools. This trick does not work if scheduling posts from third-party software like HootSuite, Buffer, AgoraPulse – you get the point.
Just follow these super simple steps:
- Access your Publishing Tools from your Business Page.
- Click the Create button.
- Copy and Paste your link (go to bitly.com to shorten the link, first).
- Turn off the images in the link you don’t want by clicking on the boxes highlighted in blue.
- Upload the image you want to use instead by clicking on the box with the “+” next to the images you just turned off.
- Schedule when it should publish and presto! You’re done!
You won’t be able to see the full image in the editor, but don’t worry about it. The full image will show up once it publishes to your Page.
Facebook’s latest modified link preview update is annoying, but hopefully, you’ve learned from my frustration and confusion. In the interest of the journalism, advertising, and public relations codes of ethics – please use this little hack I just taught you for good. Don’t be shady.
Free Tools for Awesome Posts
- Images: If you want a custom image for your links and other social media posts but don’t fancy yourself a Photoshop whiz, try out Canva. I use this all the time and it saves me loads of time since it has thousands of pre-made templates and dimensions to fit your social media platforms built in.
- Shortened Links: I already mentioned this, but use bit.ly to shorten your links. By creating a free account, you can even track how many people click on the link.
- Curate Content: Feedly is a nifty tool for curating articles from other industry sources so that you never run out of post ideas.
Questions about how to implement a killer social media strategy yourself? Check out our social media services to see how IGV can help you out!
Written by: Natalie Pike
Natalie works as IGV’s Marketing Coordinator.