Facebook’s news feed is where many of us get our daily news. Mostly we get news via the Facebook page of leading news sites like BBC, The New York Times, Reddit, etc because we’ve subscribed to them but not all news in our feed is created equal. With Facebook and the news we get on it, there is always the risk that it’s either a hoax or someone took an article by The Onion too seriously. This is why sharing news from an authentic source is always better. Facebook has one of the best link sharing features for both pages and individual profiles and in a recent update, it’s added something truly amazing. When sharing news, you can now search for and add a link to a more authentic source of information all from the Facebook app. Here’s how.
Open the Facebook app and tap ‘Status’ to compose the post. A new ‘Link’ button has been added between the ‘Tag’ and ‘action’ button. Tap it and you will switch to the ‘Add a link’ screen. Use the search bar to look up the news item your post is about.
The search results feature just about any and every authentic source that’s currently talking about the trending news item. You can visit a link by tapping the ‘View’ button next to and then attach it from there. If you already know which link it is you want to share, simply tap the search result and it will be added to your status.
I have some thoughts on this but first I’m going to state the obvious; the feature is probably going to roll out slowly so if you don’t see it right away, give it a few days. This change comes alongside Facebook’s new News feed preferences update which is getting more attention than it deserves and distracting us from this far more interesting update.
The change means two major things; first; Facebook has indeed entered the ‘search’ race. It’s obviously not the same kind of search engine that Google is but it is search and a very targeted one at that. Facebook is going after news and it’s gauging credibility of links based on which sources are searched for and preferred over others. Search results will be ranked, no doubt, by the views they’ve already gotten and how often the link has already been shared, among other things.
Second; this means sharing is changing. Where originally we would share via other pages, from a web page, or from other people, we can now share links directly and the page that posted it need not be involved. This is kind of scary for pages and exciting at the same time. When we share a direct link, the page doesn’t get its ‘view’ and it’s likely to impact the reach it has. Many pages, especially those that mimic Buzzfeed type articles and posts rely on the viral title and quick one-click sharing that Facebook has to offer to get traffic and this may harm them. It may also be an attempt by Facebook to control the myriad of ‘You won’t believe what this guy just did’ type of links that spam our news feed.
So far, the update has arrived on the iOS app and will likely appear on Android too. It isn’t clear if it will make an appearance on the desktop yet. Let us know in the comments how you feel about this new way to share news.