Facebook Policy Changes on Sharing Website Links

Facebook Policy Changes on Sharing Website Links

You may have noticed when posting a link on Facebook you can now no longer edit the image, title and description. As part of a policy change on July 18th 2017, Facebook has removed the ability to edit link previews. This applies to shared links on pages, groups and personal profiles. 

The change in policy released by Facebook was this:

"By removing the ability to customize 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"

What this means is previously you could copy and paste a link, change the image, title and description. Now however, if you are sharing a link from your website to Facebook it will only post the image, title and description that Facebook has scraped from your website metadata. Also trying to publish a link post using Power Editor you will now be presented with the screenshot below.

Update to Facebook Unpublished Page Post Link

As you can see the ability to change the link image, title and description will only be available if you continue to make the post a paid ad. They have announced that the ability to continue to edit links will be available for certain website, mainly news, sports and entertainment pages, with Link Ownership via a new section in their Page's Publishing Tools. If you are a Shopify website, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for this to be available for your Facebook page.

In order to adjust to this new policy we suggest the following changes:

  • If your Shopify metadata uses your SEO titles and page descriptions, ensure all products, pages and posts on your website are up to date. You should be doing this for SEO purposes anyway, so why not kill two birds with one stone! This will also help when website visitors use your share buttons ~ remember you are probably not the only one sharing your website.
  • For blog posts or articles if your theme is flexible, use a featured image that is in line with Facebook link post image size of 1.91:1 aspect ratio. Facebook recommends a 1200 x 630 pixel size for images. Your minimum size to ensure a large preview image is 600 x 315 pixels. Our personal recommended size which we use is 1280 x 720 pixels.
  • Once you have made changes to any metadata, images or descriptions, update your changes using the Facebook Debugger and Twitter Card Validator.

A word of warning in using the Facebook Debugger, it wouldn't be Facebook if it didn't have bugs in it. This tool can sometimes create the greatest frustration in acknowledging changes in metadata. My best advice if it doesn't acknowledge your changes, walk away and grab yourself drink (bourbon would be my choice), it will eventually display the changes in your metadata properties within 24 hours. The Twitter Card Validator can also cache the metadata but it is not as stubborn as Facebook. If you close the browser tab you have opened the validator in, then re-open a new tab and try validating again, the metadata properties should be updated. Older link posts on Twitter will also update with the new metadata properties, however older posts on Facebook will not.

Since this change in policy we have also noticed that the Facebook Share Debugger is now giving these errors:

The following properties are specified on the webpage but NOT supported for the specified 'og:type': og:price:amount, og:price:currency.

This occurs when the og:type is set to product and the following code is included within your share metadata:

<meta property="og:price:amount" content="{{ product.price | money_without_currency | strip_html }}" />
<meta property="og:price:currency" content="{{ shop.currency }}" />

The above code is possibly included in the majority of all Shopify themes. Technically with the meta property setting of og:type product, a price amount and price currency are not a required field, however the correct metadata code for inclusions of these is:

<meta property="product:price:amount" content="{{ product.price | money_without_currency | strip_html }}" />
<meta property="product:price:currency" content="{{ shop.currency }}" />

You will notice the only change is replacing og with product. If you would like to continue reading more about this Facebook policy change you can follow the links below.

API Change Log: Modifying Link Previews

Next Steps to Addressing Link Preview Modification

Link Preview Editing ~ Why can't I edit link previews anymore?

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