Update: Shenanigans possible / A new low for Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Basically, it does seem possible to add a title from the facebook side under specific conditions and that could have happened in this case.

See this post for a bit more detail.



I really don’t know what to make of this.

If you’ve been using facebook, you know that it grabs a title from an article or blog post that is being shared and it places that text inside of a box – usually alongside a photo.

If you review what I have screen-captured below – or if you go directly to my facebook profile –  you can see that neither I nor a friend could have added the capitalized text, “YEAH AND THE DEMOCRATS JUST MIGHT WIN, OMG, just kidding! lol”.

That text had to be added inside of the database that Milwaukee Journal Sentinel uses to enter a story. Facebook then grabbed the text and auto-inserted it. Back in the old days, a copy editor added titles to stories.

Did Milwaukee Journal Sentinel give the newspaper password to a 12-year-old this summer?

what it looked like when i shared it.

 Below you see a screen-capture of the story as it appears at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:Race tightens  with Scott Walker  Mary Burke tied among registered voters


Update: I’ll add a bit of facebook how-to.

Facebook pulls from what are called “Open Graph” tags. So when the copy editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel entered that childish title, and then hit “publish”, and somebody subsequently used a facebook button (or other interface) to share it, facebook pulled the title as located in the title tag – -which if somebody were to review in open graph would look thusly “og:title”.

It is possible for the editor to realize the error and then change that article’s title and then push it through facebook’s debug tool to have facebook recheck those tags. However in my experience, that debug process will only work on *subsequent* shares – it will not work retroactively to fix shares that have already escaped into the wild. Once a facebook share is made it lives out there with the text that was present in the title field at the time of the share. There is not a constant two-way street of data going on between each unique share and the source where the share originated.

I’ll leave facebook’s “Sharing Checklist” here as well.


2 thoughts on “Update: Shenanigans possible / A new low for Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  1. Facebook has had the ability to modify those titles for ages. The user just has to click on the headline and can write in whatever they want.

    This is especially useful when you share a link from a website that isn’t very well developed and the automatically inserted text is blank or a bunch of nonsense text.

    Seems like you owe the JS a much bigger mea culpa than what you’ve got posted as of my commenting.

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