Facebook Debugger Tool Not Working – Won’t Refresh Youtube Image / Attachment

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.


15 Replies to “Facebook Debugger Tool Not Working – Won’t Refresh Youtube Image / Attachment”

    1. Unfortunately, no. Someone commented here in February of 2020, still having the exact same issue. In my case, it just eventually resolved itself after about a week or so. Which doesn’t really help when you’re launching a new video and have a short time window to attract viewers.

  1. Today is 2/8/2020 and I’m having a rotten time getting it to update a Youtube thumbnail. None of the fixes I’m finding online are working. It’s exactly as you say, Open Graph Object Debugger has the correct image, and even after repeated scrapes, Facebook ignores the image and uses the old cached one instead.

    1. Unfortunately, facebook doesn’t care about fixing things to benefit its users (as you can tell by the amount of time that’s passed since I posted this, and you’re still having the same issue I had).

      1. I’m facing the same problem. How frustrating! I see it resolved itself after a week or so for Mikal, but I wonder if it did that for everyone else.

  2. So I know this post is hella old, but I had this same problem. After running the debug tool, I went to the post, clicked the “…” and clicked “refresh share attachment” and my thumbnail updated right away.

    1. Glad it worked for you. It’s an intermittent problem. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t work for months. Facebook does not prioritize fixing things that benefit their users.

  3. I have found something of interest regarding this problem!! Maybe the problem is GOOGLE, not FACEBOOK. Here me out:

    I had the same issue with a thumbnail that I updated on my youtube channel. I have a video that was underperforming and I realized that the thumbnail was kind of wack, so I made a new one, based off of the style of the thumbnail of one of my better performing videos (free advice for you to do the same as well).

    On YOUTUBE, where you edit your video and can change the thumbnail, it shows the newer thumbnail I uploaded. When I click on the CHANNEL however, seeing a list of videos and playlists, the thumbnail has not update – ON YOUTUBE! It is updated some places, but not on the front page of my channel.

    When I check my channel on my mobile device it shows the new updated thumbnail, but NOT ON MY MACKBOOK using CHROME browser! So, somehow Chrome or YOUTUBE or Google itself is still displaying the wrong thumbnail, on some pages. Maybe that is why the Debugger is still pulling it??

    I don’t know what to do about it, but what do you think of this? Does YOUTUBE or Google have a debugger?


    1. It usually takes a bit for youtube to show your new thumbnail publicly. How long did you wait?

      Unfortunately, the case I describe is not the fault of youtube or google. They are serving up the correct image.

      Copy this text:
      If you scroll down a bit on the Facebook Debug Tool page, you will see the direct URL to the YouTube image:

      And search for it on this page, then read from there downward to see how to verify this.

  4. I have the same problem. The thumbail of my YouTube video does not update despite using the Facebook Debugger and scrapping several times.

    Has anybody found a workaround to this problem ?

  5. As of today, the end of Sept. 2020, it is still not working properly. And it still drives me crazier and crazier. The only workaround I could find was to use a secondary website that generate templates, such as picsee.co, upload my link on there, and use the link provided was the website to share it on Facebook. It works, but the link is not directly playable on Facebook, it opens YouTube in a new page… better than nothing I guess ?

  6. Well, about my last comment. Nevermind, it does not change a thing. Youtube does the same, it does not play within Facebook either apparently.

    1. Yes, facebook forces youtube videos to open in a new window or tab regardless. They’re hostile toward youtube video, while trying to force you to upload directly to facebook.

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