Until recently, Facebook users had the option to dress up link previews with more captivating images, catchier titles and descriptions than what the linked pages had to offer.
This function was especially useful when linking to websites lacking back-end preview instructions, called open graph meta tags (aka OG tags). However, your ability to give other people’s page links a Facebook makeover is, well… over.
Why Some Facebook Shared Links Look Incomplete
On December 18, 2017, Facebook enacted new rules for shared posts due to issues during the last election with verifying sources, links and content of posts.
Facebook no longer allows you to customize link metadata, such as image, title, or description, if the page is not your own. This means, when sharing a link from another site, users are only able to access native images and descriptors originating from the linked page.
Not embedding your site with the right metadata may result in Facebook shares that display incomplete link previews and an oddly formatted, unintended thumbnail images. This default may also result in fewer shares from visitors who are turned off by the appearance or lack of images to accompany the post.
At this time, Facebook is the only social media platform employing this link preview restriction. Fixing the problem involves adding open graph meta tags to pages you would like to see others share and/or verifying domain ownership with Facebook when sharing links from your own site.
How to Fix Facebook Link Previews on Your Own Pages
Facebook posts generate link previews based on the open graph meta tags (eg. og:image) that Facebook’s link scraper pulls from each website. If you’re not pulling the right images with social shares, the solution lies in the Open Graph (OG) Protocol, created by Facebook in 2010. Since then, several other social platforms, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, have adopted the same or similar protocols.
When you add open graph meta tags in the head section of a web page, social networks are easily able to locate the information and images you want to feature in posts. Without open graph meta tags, the platform is left to its own devices to guess which preview text and images you’d like to post.
Check out Hubspot’s step-by-step instructions on how to add open graph meta tags to your social share pages.
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