In a previous post, I spoke about forcing Facebook to refresh a YouTube video image with the Facebook debugger tool. This is still recommended as the first line of defense if Facebook isn’t refreshing their cache to the newest available version of the image on your YouTube video, or any other linked image. However, I’m finding that this tool doesn’t always work.
Facebook’s debug tool has now failed me in multiple cases. It first failed me when I attempted to run a Facebook ad for a brand new short film and music video on my YouTube account. Facebook kept rejecting my ad because they have some weird rule against having text on your video image. Despite changing the YouTube image to one without text, the Facebook automated ad tool kept rejecting the ad, claiming that there was text in the image. And in every one of the ad rejection emails, they displayed the old image which no longer existed. Because this concerned advertising, and I pay them for said advertising, I was able to contact them through the ad manager about the issue. Even then, they kept claiming to have fixed the issue, but didn’t. It took literally 4 months of emails and claims of having fixed it for them to actually fix the issue. They obviously have a really bad issue with caching YouTube video images.
My latest experience with this Facebook cache problem involves a YouTube live stream commentary track for the movie “Home Alone” that we did just a couple of days ago. After posting the video to Facebook for the first time, I realized that there was a misspelling on the image. So, I immediately fixed the image and re-uploaded it to YouTube. Then, I used the Facebook Debugging Tool to refresh the cache of the YouTube link, which should update the image. However, instead of replacing the old image with the new one that was now present on YouTube, Facebook behaved erratically, sometimes showing the new image, but mostly showing the old image more than 90% of the time. More than 24 hours later, it’s still showing the original image, regardless of using the debug tool to refresh the image countless times.
Here you see the original image with the misspelled word “comentary” from the original image, despite the original image no longer existing on YouTube:
If you scroll down a bit on the Facebook Debug Tool page, you will see the direct URL to the YouTube image:
If you plug that URL directly into your browser address bar, you can see the current image on YouTube’s servers, which, as you will see here, has the word spelled correctly:
You can even plug that direct image URL into the debug tool, and you will see that it pulls the correct image from it:
However, despite Facebook being able to pull the correct image through the direct URL, it still shows the incorrect, cached image when you plug the video URL back in.
To take this further, click over to the Facebook Open Graph Object Debugger (different from the other debug tool), plug in your video URL and scroll about half way down until you see two tiny thumbnails of your image. From there, you can click on that image thumbnail, open the full size image and see that Facebook opens the correct image. These are the dual thumbnails that you’re looking for:
Facebook appears to be able to display the correct image when you go directly to the image URL. But, when you ask Facebook to pull the YouTube video image, it ignores the URL and displays its old cached item instead. And even its own debug / refresh tool doesn’t refresh it.
I’d like to get Facebook involved to solve this, but I can’t find any way to contact them about it. If anybody has a way to get in contact with them to solve the issue of their broken debugging tool, please let me know.