Why Isn’t My Facebook Link Showing a Picture? How to Debug an Image on a Shared Post

carrie rollwagen smiles at the camera in the tower room at the spanish consulate airbnb

Facebook is a fickle friend (pun intended … sorry not sorry) when it comes to promoting your website or blog. Sharing a blog post on Facebook can create a lot of interaction and boost your website traffic, but Facebook doesn’t make getting that traffic easy.

Let’s say you’re a blogger. You post a timely blog, so you want to promo it on your personal Facebook right away. You paste the link for the blog into your status update field and wait for Facebook to pull in the blog title and the image from your blog. Only … it doesn’t. The link works, but often the image won’t load.

If you’ve bothered to add a photo to your post, this is annoying. It’s bad for engagement, too, since people are more likely to comment, like and click through posts that include images. One way to fix this problem is to wait it out. If you try again in a couple of hours, the issue will usually fix itself. But, while patience may be a virtue, it’s generally not a component of a successful social media strategy.

Here’s a work-around I’ve found for when Facebook isn’t finding the image from your blog. What you want to do is force Facebook to “visit” your website and find your image, and you can use the developer tool Facebook Crawler to do that. The Crawler includes a Sharing Debugger that allows you to see what content Facebook is pulling from your website — and to manually force it to crawl for additional content.

  1. Head to this link: https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/
  2. Paste the URL from the post you want to promote into the field under Sharing Debugger.
  3. Click “debug.” (You’re not really trying to debug here, but clicking “debug” is the only way to get to the next message.)
  4. Facebook will tell you it hasn’t visited your site before. Click “fetch new information.”
  5. There’s a good chance you’ll see some warnings (you can ignore these), and you’ll see some information (like your title and metadescription from your post), but you won’t see the image. Click “scrape again.”
  6. If you can see the image on the debugger page, it’s fixed!
  7. If you still can’t see the image, hit “scrape again” again. You might have to do this a couple of times before it works.
  8. Once you can see the image on the debugger page, you’re good to go. Now you can go back to your page and paste your link into your status as normal, and your photo will show up.

It took me a long time and some very frustrated Googling to find the solution to this problem, so I hope this blog can help some people solve the issue more quickly.

Carrie Rollwagen is Communications Director at Infomedia, a web development company in Birmingham, Alabama. Find her as @crollwagen on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and most other social media platforms.

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