How To: Beat Facebook's Shared Link Cache with TinyUrl

Facebook Caches Everything

You have a great post you've written and you'd like to share it on your facebook wall. You share the URL but notice that the image wasn't coming in or the title or description copy wasn't what you'd like. You head back over to your post, make the appropriate changes, and head back to repost, but you come to find that the old image/copy/title are all still there!

Facebook is a giant and to keep up with all of its demands on its resources, they have a ton of caching going on. Even the images you uploaded are immediately optimized (and made to look pretty crummy) in order to squeeze out every ounce of efficiency. The same goes for shared links. As soon as it enters the Facebook ecosystem, that URL has it's goodies cached up and there's no way to break it free and refresh the URL.

URL Shortening Provides Some Help

Because the cached data as tied to a URL as it's a guaranteed unique identifier, the trick is to provide Facebook with another URL that will pull in the new data. URL shortening services can get you this code. Everyone's used them before, Bitly, TinyUrl, etc. They provide shortened URLs that forward the user to the actual URL you'd like the user to be taken to. Add in you're URL that's been cached by Facebook, grab the new URL, post that one and you're golden.

But hold the phone! You accidentally made ANOTHER mistake and need to re-refresh the page's information on Facebook. You head back over to your favorite URL shortener and re-enter the URL only to find out that it kicks back the same shortened URL. Uh oh, this is a problem. Facebook has already cached that URL, so it looks like you're up a creek. Or are you? A quick workaround, head on over to your second favorite URL shortener and get it again, and hopefully you made sure there wasn't any issues and it's going to work out this time.

But, again, you've made a mistake and need to get yet another version over to Facebook and you've exhausted all of the URL shorteners, what are you to do?

TinyUrl to the Rescue

TinyUrl (http://tinyurl.com) provides users with not only a standard means of shortening a URL with it providing a generated url string. TinyUrl also offers a custom URL feature that you can pick which string you'd like to add. This is the magic feature. You can literally re-enter a new custom string and it will kick back a URL you can pass to Facebook without fear of it being used and cached previously.

No longer will you need to worry about whether your post is perfect before sending it out to Facebook, and if you have a planned change to the page, you can use this method to ensure the campaign is executable.

Do you have another method of getting around that annoying Facebook cache? Or maybe you know of a URL shortener that will do this even better? Let us know by commenting below!