Facebook Kills the ‘Via’ Attribution Link on Page Posts

By Devon Glenn 

Facebook is setting a precedent for other social media sites by ending the controversial practice of adding third-party attribution links on feed stories.

Starting tomorrow, those links that say things like “-via HootSuite” or “-via Buffer” will no longer show up when you auto-post an update to your brand Page, according to a report by Wisemetrics.

Leave it to the internet to come up with something like the “via” attribution. Prior to the digital age, no brand ever had to share an ad that was brought to you “-via Comcast” or “-via paper.” Nor did journalists quote sources from telephone conversations connected “-via AT&T” or “-via Verizon.”

Now there’s even a Curator’s Code that asks publishers to offer a via ᔥ or a hat tip ↬ to their sources. (Not many people have adopted it.)

The whole thing is an internet-ism that serves to reward curation or distribution platforms that are useful to the person who sends the link, but that may or may not mean anything to a reader.

As our sibling blog InsideFacebook reports, some studies suggest that the “via” links may negatively affect how Facebook users engage with the posts, which is bad news for brands, although the results of the studies have been inconclusive.

“Either way,” writes AllFacebook’s Brittany Darwell, “Some page owners have chosen not to use these tools as a result.”

The change will roll out to Facebook Pages beginning tomorrow. Users should note that their personal profiles will still show the “via” links.

Homepage image by Dusit.