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FROM THE EDITOR: It’s Facebook’s world, we’re just living in it

From the FL1 Facebook Page.

This morning you probably noticed a story that was published to our Facebook Page, in which the featured image did not match the content of the story.

In that case, our ‘daily forecast’, which is published every day around 6 a.m. was posted to Facebook with a featured image connected to another story. It meant a mugshot appeared as the ‘featured image’ on Facebook for the Daily Forecast post.

If you clicked on the story, it looked normal – and if you visited our homepage – the correct featured image was connected to both the arrest associated with the mugshot, and the daily forecast.

However, because Facebook changes the rules for what Pages are allowed and/or not allowed to do on a daily basis – modifying a featured image on a Facebook Post, before or after it is published – isn’t part of our ‘editorial power‘ – even on our own page.

But we see the comments, and hear you – loud-and-clear.

Each time it happens – we report it to Facebook and try to modify the post as best we can. However, there isn’t much anyone who operates a page can do. And for a publishing entity (like most in the digital world) that relies heavily on Facebook referral traffic – deleting and forgetting isn’t the best option.

Thousands of readers each day come from Facebook; and that isn’t a bad thing – but the editorial control that publishers DO NOT have with their content on Facebook is troubling.

While we, and other publishers, have reached out to developers at Facebook to correct this issue – the only response any have received is that it’s part of the company’s effort to combat ‘fake news’.

Meaning, they prevent publishers from modifying those featured images – as a means to keep ‘fake news’ off of their platform.

I’m not sure how that’s working out for them, but this remains a point of great frustration for those in the publishing industry. We’ll continue to report these technical issues, as algorithms (not people) decide what you see alongside our links on Facebook; and keep arguing for greater control.

It’s also part of the reason why we encourage folks to download our app. It’s the easiest way to get the day’s news in an environment that IS controlled by the team here at FL1. Or, if you’re a traditional desktop user – visit FingerLakes1.com to get all of the latest news directly.

Facebook is it’s part to make it harder for publishers to operate in a digital world that is controlled by them. They don’t have any reason to care about local journalism, or the quality of it. Their business is in mass-quantities of users and advertising.

We will remain focused on being the region’s go to resource for the latest news and information from around the Finger Lakes.

Thanks for reading.

Josh Durso
News Director, FingerLakes1.com

Also on FingerLakes1.com