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.


Force Facebook To Show Your Full Youtube Video Image

Are you tired of Facebook forcing your video preview images into tiny squares in the lower left corner, like this?

Facebook's shitty way of displaying Youtube video default images

It seems that Facebook does this to its own users as vengeance against them for choosing Youtube over Facebook’s native video upload feature. Petty? Yes. But, it’s Facebook’s own fault. With Youtube, you have the largest video search engine in the world, your videos can actually be optimized for search engines, and you can actually make money off of your videos via ad revenue. Facebook shares none of these features.

There’s a simple way to fix this.

1. Log in to your Youtube account and go to the Creator Studio. If you don’t know how to get there, click your Youtube icon in the upper right corner of the page, and click “Creator Studio”.

Youtube Creator Studio Button

2.  Once you’re in the Creator Studio, click the Video Manager button on the left.

Youtube Video Manager Button

3. Now you’ll see a list of your videos. Click the Edit button on the video that you want to post on Facebook.

Youtube Video Edit Button

4. Next, click the Advanced Settings tab.

Youtube Edit Video Advanced Settings Tab

5. Under Advanced Settings, you’ll find “Distribution Options” near the bottom of the left hand column. Uncheck the box that says “Allow Embedding”.

Youtube Distribution Options Uncheck Allow Embedding

6. Click “Save Changes” at the top (or bottom, it’s in both places) of the page.

Youtube Advanced Settings Save Changes Button

7.  Now, paste the URL to your video in your Facebook status update box. It will look like this:

Youtube Video on Facebook with Full Size Preview Image

If it still doesn’t show up full size, that’s because Facebook caches your Youtube video info, and is still using the old info. Luckily, this is also easy to fix.

To force Facebook to see the new info:

1. Go to: https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug

2. Enter the URL to your video in the address bar as shown below.

Facebook Developer URL Debugging Tool

3. Click the blue “Debug” button to the right of the address bar.

4. Scroll down and hit the “Scrape Again” button. You will now see this:

Facebook Developer Debugging Tool with Full Size Youtube Video Preview

5. You’ve just forced Facebook to retrieve the new info from Youtube.

Now, just paste your Youtube video URL into the Facebook status update box again, and it will definitely show up correctly with the full size preview image.

You’re welcome.

I learned of the “Allow Embedding” fix from Mech Tech on Youtube. Check out Mech Tech’s video on forcing Facebook to show a full size Youtube video image here. And tell him MIKAL sent you.

Oh, and, if you want to check out the film in the images in this article, here it is – Rock N’ Roll Parking Lot.


Diary of an Independent Filmmaker

(Say hello to the group.)

Hello. My name is MIKAL. And I am an independent filmmaker.

“Hi, Mikal!”

(Tell us a little about yourself.)

It all started one day when I went to a local big box store and saw a camera for $125. Up until then, I was fine. I don’t know what happened.

The clerk said, “You gotta do it, man. Everybody’s doin’ it. Only losers don’t do it. Do it once and you’ll never want to stop.”

I could hear the voices in my head battling it out.

On my left shoulder, Thomas Edison was saying “Just take it! Just take it, man! Nobody’ll know!”

On my right shoulder, Louis Le Prince was saying “Don’t listen to him, Mikal. There is no way this could end well.”

I thought, “Maybe I’ll just try a little bit. Just once can’t hurt.”

I took my money out of my pocket and laid it out on the counter. The guy on the other side quietly picked it up and shoved it in his metal box, then gave me a nod. This was the signal that the deal was done. I took the bag with the stuff in it and exited swiftly, making sure not to stop or make eye contact with anyone else.

After that, it was like… I couldn’t stop. I spent more and more money on cameras. And that was just a gateway to more camera-related paraphernalia. I was buying tripods. I was buying dollies. Shotgun microphones. Boom poles. Lav mics. The hard stuff, man. And it’s like, it never ends. You somehow always need more.

Before I knew it, I was filming almost every day. I’d take time off of work to go film things. Sick days. Vacation days. Anything as an excuse to go do it.

Now I’m at the point that I just don’t know how to stop.

(Mikal, are you filming us right now?)


Above: The $125 camera that first introduced me to the world of independent film making.