End The Facebook VS Your Featured Image War For Good

Get Facebook to actually use your featured image. Yes, it’s a thing.


If you’re like me, you spend A LOT of time working on your blog posts. Coming up with witty (hopefully) and informative copy, styling your page just so to make it more engaging and creating a sweet featured image to go along with it.

You finally finish, read it over a few times to make sure you make some sense, check for typos and hit the glorius Publish button! Wee!!

Cool! Now to test it your social share buttons. (You do test it, right?) Ok, so I don’t do this all of the time but I try to.

Check your social share buttons at the bottom of your post, especially…dun dun duuuun… Facebook.

Facebook Annoyance #294

When you test or share to your Facebook Page or worse when your readers go to share your post they get this…
A generic image like your logo, not the cool featured image that goes with your post. Doesn’t have my blog meta description either! Ugh!

Let’s use my post from last week “Want More Tweets & Pins? Read This.” as an example and pretend I tried to share it on my Facebook page and got the annoying version above. Wanna know how I fixed it?

Let me introduce the answer to this problem

The Facebook Developer’s Tool Degugger! Can I get a whoop whoop!!

You’ll want to add this one to your Box-O-Tools!

The reason we sometimes get the annoying example above has to do with Facebook’s caching of your page and 9 times out of 10 running it through the debugger tool will fix the problem or give you a reason why it may not be working. (Though so far… knock on wood… it’s always worked for me.)

To fix it problem, go to the Facebook Debugger Tool and just add in the URL to your post or page and click the Debug button

You’ll get some new info including lots of intimidating looking gibberish that makes no sense. Ignore and scroll down to the section named “When shared, this is what will be included”.

Is this the image you want? If not, click the button that’s right below the URL you entered up top that says “Fetch new scrape information”. It might take 2 or 3 times before the right image and text appear as it should. (Sometimes a little patience is needed here.)

Once it’s correct, you can now share it on Facebook! YAY!

Bonus coolness: Now anywhere that your link was shared will be auto updated with the correct image!

Here’s what it looks like now when I go to share. Perfect!

More on this

Another thing to try if you have issues is to FIRST post from your Facebook page as the page owner. This way you get to choose the image. Next, try posting via your personal page. When you do this, it will usually pull the same image that was posted (and you chose) from your page. If that doesn’t work – run it through the Debugger. This annoying problem is especially true with sharing buttons, so don’t forget to test them.

Sometimes (as you probably know), Facebook can be a pain in the you-know-what. Naughty.

Play this game with Facebook. I’ve found these tips usually always work so you’ll come out the winner!

If you have other tips to share on this, please do! Now, get to posting!

– Janet
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{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Stefani June 3, 2015, 3:24 pm

    Argh! Thank you for writing this…but now matter what I do, it won’t show my darn (correct) image! I’ve run it through the debugger, and fetched new info…and re-fetched and re-fetched…and refreshed…and nothing. 🙁 any other ideas??

    • Janet June 3, 2015, 6:42 pm

      Ugh – so annoying. I know sometimes no matter what you do it just won’t work. Is it for a page or post? I know I have more trouble with pages. Did you try posting the your FB bus page first? Let me know or shoot me an email and I’ll mess with it too if you like. 🙂

    • Alistair June 4, 2015, 1:46 pm

      The debugger is great for forcing Facebook to refresh the image it displays if it picks the wrong one by mistake. It appears to pick the first image it finds, which is why logos show up a lot!

      However you also need to ensure the correct image on your page is specified in the meta property=”og:image” tag. I don’t know if setting a featured image in WP necessarily does that.

      I do know that the social tab in the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin lets you explicitly define which image to share on Facebook though 😉

      • Janet June 4, 2015, 1:53 pm

        Ah! Very good to know! I’m not sure about that either, will look into that. Thank you Alistair!

  • Nicole June 4, 2015, 10:29 am

    So interesting! I had no idea this was out there. Thank you!

    Another option, if you’re using WordPress, is to use the Yoast SEO plugin (the best thing since sliced bread for so many reasons) and click on the “Social” tab to load a specific image for Facebook.

    • Janet June 4, 2015, 1:44 pm

      I’ve heard the Yoast SEP plugin works as well on this – thanks for the reminder and where to find the fix! 🙂

  • Katie June 4, 2015, 10:58 am

    This is a great informational post Janet! This is a subject that I see people complain about in Facebook groups. I shared your post yesterday and will refer people to it the next time I see someone ask.

    • Janet June 4, 2015, 1:49 pm

      Thanks Katie! 🙂

  • Emily June 4, 2015, 12:39 pm

    I’ve found the first time I attempt to publish, it always brings up just the generic branded image but then I jump to another page, add the URL and I’m allowed to chose the right image. Once I’ve chosen the right image, any other time I want to publish it (or someone else does) the correct featured image comes up. It’s laborious but then what about FB isn’t? Thanks for sharing this other approach!

    • Janet June 4, 2015, 1:51 pm

      Glad you like it Emily and thanks for sharing what you do – always good to know other ways because it sometimes takes more than one way to get it done! 🙂

  • Alex June 5, 2015, 12:09 am

    Guess I wasn’t the only one frustrated with this annoying Facebook error. It’s so bad and seems impossible to fix on Linkedin posts! Thank you Janet for this detailed post! 🙂

    • Janet June 5, 2015, 5:58 am

      Hi Alex, glad you liked it! Yep, I’ve had that happen too – but seems like most of the time if I can get FB to work, LI works too. I’ll check more into this. Thanks! 🙂

  • Kathryn Brown June 5, 2015, 9:09 am

    This is a great post Janet! I’m also a Yoast user and have found that to be super helpful, but the debugger tool has come into play many times when I’ve decided to swap photos in my post.

    Thanks so much for sharing this!

    • Janet June 6, 2015, 10:28 am

      Thanks Kathryn!

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