Ever post on Facebook and have an old paragraph or image show? Did you just edit your blog post ten minutes earlier, but Facebook is not cooperating and you are getting the old text or image instead? In this post, we will learn how to clear Facebook links (links from your own post, ones over which you have some control).
Understand the Facebook Link Problem
What Facebook does it is caches your link and all the code behind it. You might edit it after Facebook has cached it, but Facebook still has the old one memorized. That is why one week later it might have the new information, but wouldn’t you rather just tell Facebook to get the new stuff immediately? Read more, and you can learn how to clear Facebook links.
Introducing: Facebook Debugger
Anyone with a blog can do this part. This is tool is not just for WordPress. Go to this page (you must be logged into Facebook):
That used to be called the Facebook Linter – now it is the Facebook Debugger.
Paste your link into that Debugger dialogue box. Press Enter on your keyboard. You will get a whole bunch of information underneath, but you only need to use this if you have specific needs, such as setting a specific image. More on this below.
Now go back to Facebook, and share the link again. Did the new text appear? Sometimes you have to put it in Debugger twice, and pick Fetch new scrape information on the second time.
Use WordPress SEO to Set Facebook Data
This part of this post is only for WordPress self-hosted users. If you can’t add a plugin, you can’t set this data.
If you add the plugin WordPress SEO by Yoast, there is a section on each post called Social. Within that section, there is a place to add a Facebook image. Upload an image that is at least 600px wide. Here’s Facebook’s recommendation: “At the minimum, you should use images that are 600 x 315 pixels to display link page posts with larger images.”
Once you upload the image, you may have to go back to the Facebook debugger and put in your URL again just to make sure it gets the right image. There are other plugins that can set what is called the “og:image,” but I’ve had best luck with the SEO by Yoast plugin. If you have two plugins trying to do the same thing, they may end up conflicting. So make sure you use just one (the debugger will pick up the og:image information in your code).
Last week I put a post in Facebook about an upcoming art exhibit. I wanted a beautiful painting to show (that was on the post), but Facebook showed none. So I installed WordPress SEO on the site, uploaded a 600px wide image to the back end of the post where it says Facebook image, cleared the post with the Debugger, and finally got the beautiful watercolor to appear.
In another case, a last name had been spelled wrong. It had already been posted in Facebook. I corrected the name, put the URL in the debugger, deleted the incorrect Facebook post, and shared another.
Yet another example involved a description change. The description was changed, but Facebook picked up the old description. The debugger was able to scrape the new information once it was corrected.
There is a site which I maintain of an international journal. Four times a year the content changes. Each time I need to add a new Facebook image to the home page in the back end, and I also need to clear the old information by using the Facebook debugger.
Your Turn, Please
Have you ever put a link into Facebook and had it bring up the wrong information? How did you handle this?