Updating Your Facebook Status Automatically With Facebook Plugin

Facebook have written their own plugin which allows you to update your Facebook status automatically via it's Social Publishing feature. There are other plugins out there that can do this for you, but I thought I'd try the plugin written and maintained by the Facebook team themselves. It works, but there are a few things to look out for.

The biggest drawback of this plugin is that while it can generate Facebook Like buttons on your posts, it can't generate similar buttons for other social media sites like Google+. Even worse, as at version 1.1.11 claims to be incompatible with the popular Really Simple Facebook Twitter Share Buttons version 2.6.1 which otherwise could fulfil this role.

A current limitation of the Facebook plugin as of version 1.1.11 is that it doesn't generate a default OpenGraph og:image tag for posts with no featured image. Such posts can end up with a random icon from your theme or sidebar as their thumbnail when shared on Facebook; which isn't what you want. To work around this, follow these instructions.

Beware that this plugin is intolerant of having other plugins also generating Facebook OpenGraph tags. These are meta elements that you don't normally see unless you inspect your blog's page source in your web browser. They help Facebook to identify information about your posts for when you share them; so they are a good thing, but having more than one set of them is not.

If you hit this problem, you'll get an error message in a red box saying:

Failed posting to your Facebook Timeline. Error: {"message":"Object at URL 'url' of type 'article' is invalid because it specifies multiple 'og:url' values: url, url.","type":"Exception"}

Many plugins can currently generate OpenGraph tags, which isn't as convenient as you might first think since you only want the one set and there's no automatic way to arbitrate between them. So to make this plugin work, you have to disable all the others.

To check for this problem ahead of time, visit the Facebook Debugger and enter the address of any post on your blog.

Here are just a few plugins I've come across which also generate OpenGraph tags, and how to mess with them to disable the conflict:

  • CommentLuv Premium: Go to CommentLuv → CommuntLuv Settings → Technical Settings, and check the checkbox “Prevent facebook meta:og tags [ ] Facebook meta tags”.
  • WordPress SEO by Yoast: Go to SEO → Social → Facebook OpenGraph and uncheck the box [ ] Add OpenGraph meta data.
  • Simple Facebook Connect: There's no easy plugin setting for doing this, but you can add this to your theme's functions.php:
    /* Turn off SFCs evil OpenGraph tag generation */
  • Shareaholic SexyBookmarks: Go to Shareaholic → SexyBoomarks Settings → Include Open Graph Meta Tags? No.
  • Network Publisher: Go to Plugins → Network Publisher → Facebook Open Graph Metatags and Locale and uncheck “Check this box if you want Facebook OpenGraph Metatags added to your pages”

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About Graham

I'm the creator of BuildYourBlog.net.
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2 Responses to Updating Your Facebook Status Automatically With Facebook Plugin

  1. Valerie says:

    I'm of a split mind about using the FB plugin. If it's the *only* place I need to autopost updates to, then I use it, otherwise I use other plugins, or if the client is on a limited budget, I just use JetPack.

    I haven't found one that I love for everything yet, an issue I've found with several is that if you schedule your post it won't get auto-posted. (I have a client that freaks out about that.) C'est la vie!

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