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March 8, 2015
Using Facebook's Open Graph Debugger
Facebook's Open Graph Debugger can be used to preview the Facebook share for your web pages, with the added bonus that scraped data from your page can be updated instantly in Facebook's database.
Vetting New Blog Posts
Imagine that you are working on a blog post that includes a Facebook share button. You'd like to be sure that the Open Graph
data for the blog post creates a share that is attractive and error-free. Facebook has a tool for this: The Open Graph Debugger
. Simply cut and paste the page's URL into the debugger, click "Debug", and examined the resulting analysis and share preview. While some of Facebook's warnings should be taken with a grain of salt
, you'll uncover serious problems that need attention prior to finalizing your blog post. At the same time, data from your page will be scraped and entered into Facebook's database.
Managing Updates to Your Pages
After modifying an existing blog post or otherwise changing a web page, you may be surprised to find that your changes are not automatically reflected in the page's Facebook share. This is because Facebook scrapes pages only once a month or so and relies on its cached information to create the share. There is, however, a way to force Facebook to re-scrape your page. Simply return to the debugger, enter the page URL and click on "Debug". Along with the normal analysis and preview (which will be based on the saved page scrape), a new button labeled "Fetch new scrape information" will appear. Click it, and Facebook will store your revisions in its database.
In my limited experience using Facebook's debugging tool, I have noted occasional errors in the analysis, such as reports that a good page is unavailable, or an old image that persists after having been replaced on the page. In every case, these errors were corrected by clicking on "Fetch new scrape information" one more time. Or, I learned that the error was mine and not Facebook's.