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  • Stephanie Reed

How Facebook is fighting fake news

Has anyone else noticed that Facebook no longer allows you to edit the headline of links shared on its platform? Usually when scheduling links on behalf of my clients - whether it's a trending article in the travel press about a specific destination or a new holiday launched on behalf of one of my travel clients, or sharing laser hair removal tips or a website product promotion for one of my beauty clients - I usually prefer to edit the headline of the link if it automatically shares text that doesn't make sense or isn't attention-grabbing enough.

A bit of investigating informed me that this is a new measure introduced by Facebook in its quest to stop the distribution of fake news on the channel. Part of me has always thought that some users might abuse this feature and falsely attribute a statement to a media outlet or individual when sharing content, so I'm not surprised Facebook has finally stopped allowing users to edit headlines.

But from the point of view of a responsible Social Media Manager who would only edit headlines in a way that stays true to the content of the article being shared, it's a disappointing change. For example, when I share links to some of my client's blog posts, it doesn't automatically post the headline of the post so there's no headline at all (and therefore, why would the audience want to click on this?). I'm going to avoid any issues this change now brings by simply sharing shortened links within the text of Facebook posts, along with images or video content.

It'll be interesting to see if this new measure does anything to prevent the distribution of fake news. In an age when anyone can publish 'news' on the internet and social media platforms, I doubt it will make much of an impact.

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