Help Me with This Facebook Problem? May 30, 2010

Help Me with This Facebook Problem?

A lot of you have sent me emails about this and I’m hoping to fix it…

Here’s the issue.

If you share a posting from this site on Facebook (which is wonderful and I love that you do it), this is what people see:

I would *like* it to look something like this:

(This screenshot is courtesy of RSS Graffiti and not something you can really use to share a particular item, I don’t think.)

What am I doing wrong? Is there a website issue I need to take care of? A Facebook setting I need to fix?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Side note: If you’re not one already, feel free to become a Fan of this site on Facebook!


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • synergy

    I’m not sure what you can do about it, but I thought usually it took whatever is in the “title” section of the HTML for the page and inserted it into the link text.

    On the other hand, people doing the sharing can select that part and rename it themselves as well as editing the summary text below it.

  • Roy

    From what I know about Facebook, it could be either on your end or Facebook’s end. I worked at a web startup for awhile and they had this problem when sharing links from their website and even though the meta-data of each page was perfect (went with Facebook standards) they still woulnd’t get shared links to format correctly.

    If you want to fix this on your end you’d better edit the WordPress files somehow.

  • Roy

    On the Facebook Developers wiki it tells you how to format metadata on your site for share: http://wiki.developers.facebook.com/index.php/Facebook_Share/Specifying_Meta_Tags

  • @Roy — I’m unable to edit the metadata on my page… I’ll see if I can change that…

  • Maybe you can make a Custom Field in WP? I’m just starting to tinker with it myself — take a look at justrox.com

  • Armita

    Hey Mehta:
    If you just specify your meta tags on facebook you can change what becomes visible on your posts. If you go to the share widget page on facebook for your page (there should be a box in which you can edit HTML, something like what you see here: http://eo-eo.facebook.com/facebook-widgets/share.php), you should be able to edit the tags there using the coding from the link that someone had posted above.

  • The FA links I see on facebook have always looked like the later.

  • You’re on WordPress? I think it’s theme-related. I use WordPress and it works for me:

    http://www.davehodgkinson.com/blog/2010/05/final-call-for-shi-da-night-market/

    Facebook is attempting to parse something meaningful out of your body text. If you attempt to share the above link, it works and the only instance of the text FB shows is inside the <div class=”post-content”> tag.

    Try flipping to another theme for a moment (and confuse your readers!) and see if it makes a difference?

  • Marcus

    >On the Facebook Developers wiki it tells you how to format metadata on your site for share.

    >how to format metadata

    >Metadata

    >Mehta data.

  • You can sign up with Networked Blogs inside Facebook and it will pull all of your posts into your profile with an image and a snippet of the post. Your friends will get all of your posts on their walls and can re-share the snippet. Here’s an example from a new group anonymous blogging project I’m involved with (sort of like PostSecret): http://apps.facebook.com/blognetworks/blog/the_web_that_is_my_own/

    This will not help if you’re mostly interested in the way it looks when non-friends share links on Facebook, though.

  • Gordon

    Samuel, the FA links come up looking like the later… but if I say to myself “my friends have to see this” and click share, what comes up looks like the former.

  • it’s pretty simple, actually. All you do is click (or double click in some cases) your text before you hit submit. It will highlight it in Yellow, then you can paste in whatever you want from your own site as a teaser. You can also change the title field the same way.

    I do it all the time for blogs that end up looking like your first one, including ScienceBlogs, which seem to have a tendency to post biographical information rather than the post (I know this happens for me at least on Pharyngula )

  • Antoine L

    Yes this needs to be fixed. Too many of my friends ignore it because of the site. if they could at least see the topic that would go a long way. Hope you fix it!!

  • Cool hint, Dorid!

  • I created a Share extension for the blog engine I use in my blog; on that post (http://www.juanformoso.com.ar/post/2009/03/28/Share-extension-for-BlogEngineNET.aspx) is a link to facebook’s documentation on how to achieve it (http://wiki.developers.facebook.com/index.php/Facebook_Share/Specifying_Meta_Tags)

    As far as I know, it’s the only way

  • Jim

    It looks like Facebook pics what it can from a site. It seems to look at the meta description first. If that is the only thing found then it uses that. Either wise it will also try the first image’s title tag for some sites. If neither is found it seems to use some generic search to try to pull the first paragraph from the article, though I would guess it is looking for some kind of identifying class attribute like body or article. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any specification on how Facebook pulls site data.

  • You’re using WordPress. Look into my plugin to help with this sort of problem:

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/simple-facebook-connect/

    While the plugin adds a whole lot of various functionality, you don’t have to use all of it. The Share plugin, in particular, is the one you want to use. It handles the metadata issue automatically just by virtue of being activated.

    If you need any other sort of WordPress help, email me.

  • Nakor

    The “Like” buttons I personally find really annoying, as they end up sticking a page permanently in your list of liked things. It’s better just to stick with Share, which shares it in your feed but doesn’t affect your info page. Also the “Like” buttons ended up the target of a clickjacking worm.

    Also, it looks like URLs that end in a digit break the a href tags on this site, or at least they did in this preview….

  • Casimir

    From what I can tell from developers forums, for the past day or two this has been broken on the Facebook side of things. (Posts that have already been shared by anyone on FB still pull descriptions and thumbnails, but new ones don’t.)

    Unless you’ve had this problem for a while, or have just recently added the “meta name=”description”” tag , I believe that is the cause. That is all you need, Facebook (usually) pulls the other info itself.

  • I get around it by using Posterous as my blog site. When I use the bookmarklet, my title is at the top, blockquote images and video show up properly, and my comments are included. For example, Faith in Science shows up as this.