One of the greatest ongoing battles Facebook fights is against fake news and other kinds of spam links. The company has notably stepped up this battle over the past six months, and it struck another blow this week when it took away the ability for any Page to edit the appearance of a link on Facebook.
This sounds like small potatoes, but it could actually make an impact in how users interact with fake stories. Previously, malicious publishers could bait-and-switch users into visiting content they weren’t expecting based on the preview, or even make fake content look like it was coming from a legitimate source.
“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,” Facebook said.
However, Facebook won’t take this ability away from everyone. Legitimate publishers can still go through Facebook to get an exemption by September.
It’s interesting to note that Facebook seems to be focusing on a series of small tweaks to its policies to get rid of fake news, instead of the grand sweeping gesture many users expected after the site’s initial focus on the issue. But this piece-by-piece strategy is probably a more effective strategy in the long run to finally rid the site of spammy content.