Not long ago, just two years ago, actually, I’ve heard for the first time of Facebook Authorship. Being familiar with what was once Google Authorship, I haven’t been very impressed, because I didn’t have a Facebook account at the time, and I thought I could manage without one, or without any other Facebook page, as a matter of fact. I was wrong, but that happened only because I believed in Google Plus more than it deserved.
A Reminder on Authorship
Authorship is the result of a meta tag implementation in a website’s structure. It shows who is the shared content’s creator. On Google’s search engine, any result about an article posted in a blog that was connected with an author’s Google Plus profile or, that blog’s own page, used to show the post’s author picture in a thumbnail. This was very cool, and I have been sure they will continue with that, because it was a matter of branding: personal branding, product branding, both perfect for someone or something to be more recognizable across the web. The thumbnail with your mugshot on the search results list showed authenticity in the search itself. This operation ceased to be supported at some moment in time, blurred enough for explanations or announcements to be made on spot. After a few months, someone, somewhere, announced that “authorship markup is no longer supported in web search”, and this sentence appeared on Google’s official support page shortly after.
[source for this and next pic: https://fbookmedia.files.wordpress.com]
Facebook, the great rival, introduced “Facebook Authorship” almost immediately. It worked like this:
… only one additional line of code in the header tag of the page is needed to implement the tag site-wide. Developers can find documentation on the
Journalists who manage a Facebook Profile will need to ensure “follow” is turned on on their profile. Journalists who manage a Facebook Page do not need to take any additional action steps. The Author Tags are opt-in and the Follow and Like buttons will currently display in the desktop version of Facebook.
People use Facebook every day to discover what’s going on in the world. The Facebook Author Tag helps connect those people to the stories and journalists that best inform and entertain them.
How can one not be impressed by such a marvelous option?
As you see in the picture above (which I used because I wasn’t inspired to make screenshots with my own examples in time, and now I can’t do it anymore), the author’s name appeared after the website’s name: “by Ezra Klein”. When you hover on it, a popup with the author’s own Facebook profile appeared, with his mugshot and whatever he left anyone to see on it. If the hovering person didn’t follow the author on Facebook, the “follow” option showed. If he/she already followed the author, only the “like” option showed.
Facebook Authorship Just Disappeared
The point of this article is that the added sequence “by Daniel Mihai Popescu” or whoever is a certain article’s author, just disappeared. It was globally erased, generally, totally, express the phenomenon as you like… If you scroll down your stream, on earlier posts, you can’t see it anymore, as it never was.
Unfortunately, nobody officially announced a thing. There are more important matters at stake, the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Las Vegas shooting, Puerto Rico donations, etc… I have to feel miserable myself, thinking of such trivial stuff like this one. “Content is the king”! Without authorship, you can steel it, you can adapt it, you can even create it… doesn’t matter. What matters? You only have to publish it!
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