Facebook Previews Not Working? Here’s a Fix.

Ran into an interesting problem this morning. When posting a link to Facebook, the previews just didn’t load. Bummer.

There’s an easy fix. Go to the Facebook debugger tool and enter your URL. Hopefully, the URL loads properly if there’s no issues with your website. You should be safe to post your links again.

Here’s the explanation:

Facebook caches links for a bit once they’re entered into the system. If there’s any issues the first time the links are loaded, the preview won’t generate properly. Once Facebook keeps that lack of preview in cache, any time that link is loaded again it will load the same useless preview. Putting the URL into the debugger forces Facebook to load the page once more and this time, hopefully the information loads correctly. If the page is loaded correctly in the debugger, go back to your timeline and enter the link once more. This time, it’ll load all the information correctly.

For the most part, I’m writing this so I will remember the next time I run into this issue. It’s happened before and I’ve given up trying to post links for work. Another symptom of this problem might be seeing a URL shortened link (like something from bit.ly) when you entered a direct link.

It makes sense that Facebook holds onto the information associated with links because of the massive scale on which the site exists, but now and then there’s got to be a hiccup. I’ve used the debugger before, but not for this purpose, but it seems to work. Hopefully it works for you too.