Forcing Facebook to notice new images on your pages

fb-debugFor the past week, one of the websites I manage has been running a “12 days of Christmas sale”. Rather than creating a new article for each day, they’re updating a single article every day with a new deal. Each new deal has it’s own cute little image next to it.

The problem they were having was that, when they went to post the update on Facebook, Facebook refused to grab the thumbnail they wanted. In fact it wasn’t even picking up on the fact that there were any thumbnails to display. The question I was then asked, was, of course, “Why?”.

The answer to the “why” was kind of a no-brainer. Obviously Facebook had some sort of caching going on. The real question was “How the heck do I get around this stupid cache?”.

A little digging brought me to Facebook’s Debugger page. It’s a tool for developers that shows them how Facebook sees their page… but what I found more interesting is that it ALSO forces Facebook to reset its cache for any URL you run through it, including it’s list of thumbnails.

Once the cache was reset, I had no problem posting the link to the sale article, along with the appropriate thumbnail, on the site’s Facebook account.

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Nikki Blight – Web/PHP Developer