Clear Facebook Links: Old Stuff Not Wanted

Use Facebook Debugger to Clear Old Posts - Learn how on Websites for Small Biz
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):
https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug
That used to be called the Facebook Linter – now it is the Facebook Debugger.

Facebook Debugger for clearing Facebook links

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.”

Use WordPress SEO by Yoast to set Facebook image

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).

Examples

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?

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43 thoughts on “Clear Facebook Links: Old Stuff Not Wanted

  1. Leora- This just recently happened. I decided not to blog last week and tried to take it down. I wish I had known how to do it as Facebook wouldn’t let go of it. Thank you

  2. Hi Leora – I’m not on Facebook but I think if I ever decide to go there I may just talk to you first. There seem to be so many little things that are important to know.

    1. Lenie,

      Hard to believe you are not on Facebook! (But then, neither is my husband, and one of my sons hardly ever uses it. And they survive just fine).

      I would be happy to give you some tips if you ever decide to wade into the Facebook Ocean.

  3. YES! I found this happened to me a while ago and then somehow, and I DO forget how, I found the debugger. What a life saver!You really did provide the most perfect steps. I stumbled around for quite a bit when it happened to me:) If I would have read this first, I would have saved time and a whole lot of angst! Great one!

  4. Excellent information, Leora. Has happened to me a couple of times. Now I know what to do if it happens to me.Saved the link.

    By the way on my Swedish site which is much “smaller” Yoast workes wonderfully well. On my blog however I had to remove it because it slowed it down enormously.

    By the way, do you know what to do when there’s a problem with posting links to Google Plus. Happens to me frequently. If you do, pls. send me a message.
    Catarina recently posted…What’s the main reason for entrepreneurial success?My Profile

  5. Hello Leora

    This has happened to me many times and all the time I was deleting the post. Sometimes asked my friend to post to show some new images etc in facebook.

    Now I know what to do when I will be in same situation. I have saved the link of facebook debugger and will use it when I will need.
    Excellent information. thanks for share.
    andleeb recently posted…Uncertainty of Life!My Profile

  6. Thanks Leora! I didn´t know why facebook made a preview of my homepage (if I post the website somewhere) why it showed a picture of one of the recipes.. I knew now where to look on the wordpress website how to change the SEO for the homepage! thanks!

    1. Jeannette, to be clear, you still have to delete old Facebook posts that had the wrong information and start again. This frustrates some of my clients who want to keep all the Likes and Comments on the new post, but Facebook isn’t like a blog where you can edit and change all the details.

      Hope you can use it with your own posts.

  7. Great information – I never heard of the Facebook Debugger so that’s a real gem. Unfortunately the size you indicated would not work at all with my theme but a couple of months ago I found an awesome little plug-in that also solves the problem – Facebook Thumb Fixer. Once I installed that I had no more problems. But I’ve copied the information the Debugger and will definitely give that a try as well. Thanks!
    Marquita Herald recently posted…The Risky Business of Trusting Each OtherMy Profile

    1. Marquita, the image does NOT have to work with your theme. In fact, I often don’t use it at all on the post. It exists merely as data in the back end, and when you post on Facebook, it grabs that image, even though your post does not use it.

      This is a way to get bigger images – so if you want to settle for thumbnails, fine, but why not go for big?

  8. I did set my image info in the WP SEO plugin awhile back when you pointed to me an image didn’t show at all when my posts we’re being shared to Facebook. I’ve been meaning to connect Twitter as well, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. My understanding is what will allow the featured image to show in the Twitter stream as well. I see tweets with images and get jealous 😉

  9. You are amazing! Facebook makes my head explode. The help and support sections totally frustrates me and I always wind up creating some mess on the page. Frankly I tend to avoid even going to my page, it’s like a labyrinth leading to disaster.Now I’m all over the debugger…thank you so much.
    I know I asked last time I commented but…can you come live with me?

  10. I’m going to have to try this. Ther’s one image which comes up with most of my WP posts to FB. It’s another authors’ book. I like the author
    and she’s been on my site but…

  11. Hey Leora,

    I’ve used this a lot in the past and luckily I finally got this all sorted out when Facebook refused to pull my images.

    Ashvini created a social sharing plugin called Share Juice Pro so he has a feature in that one that will make it pull the right image. You put the link in you want it to pull just like SEO Yoast does.

    It’s not fun when you can never get it to link up correctly so until something’s wrong most people aren’t familiar with this. Great share my dear.

    Hope you’re enjoying your week.

    ~Adrienne

    1. Ashvini does great work! Glad he is helping you out with your site.

      And I didn’t realize so many people have this issue and have no idea how to deal with it! Well, now some of them do. Thanks for visiting, Adrienne.

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