All of Facebook’s Like Buttons on Third-Party Sites Now Publish a Full News Feed Story

When users click the Like or Recommend button on a third-party website or within a Facebook app, it now publishes a full news feed story instead of just a one-line Recent Activity story. Previously, full stories with headlines, thumbnail images, and captions were only published if the website chose to implement the “Like with Comment” version of the button and users chose to add this additional context.

As the Like button now encompasses the functionality of the Share button, which Facebook has removed from its documentation, Facebook may phase out the Share button entirely. The change gives more prominence to outbound links in the news feed and on a user’s wall, and so will increase referral traffic and draw more sites to add the Like button.

Full stories appear larger, more compelling since they often include an image, and are ranked better in the news feed than Recent Activity stories. Therefore, the stories generated from clicks of the Like / Recommend button will been seen by more of a user’s friends and drive more traffic to third-party websites and apps than before.

Since Facebook launched its social plugins including the Like button at last year’s f8 conference, over 2.5 million websites have integrated them. In July, Facebook introduced Like with Comment, allowing some implementation to publish full feed stories.

By August, 350,000 sites had Like buttons, and that count is probably much higher now. Facebook has since allowed developers to integrate Like buttons with social games and other Facebook apps, and is trying to increase third-party awareness of their ability to publish news feed stories to those who click their buttons.

Up until now, Facebook had supported three different ways to share third-party content to the news feed:

  • The Share button –  When clicked, users see a Facebook Publisher dialog pop up allowing them to add a comment. It publishes a full feed story, similar to if the user had copied the link into the Publisher on Facebook.com. The Share button doesn’t subscribe users to future updates from the owner of the button.
  • The Like / Recommend button without comment – When third-parties use the standard iframe Like button with a width less than 400 pixels, the button_count, or  box_count version of the Like / Recommend button, users aren’t given the option to comment. A simple, one-line story linking to the content is published to the Recent Activity feed of the user’s wall, and the story is less frequently displayed in the news feeds of friends. Users are subscribed to future updates from the button’s owner.
  • The Like / Recommend button with comment – When third-parties implement the XFBML version or the standard iframe version with a width of 400 pixels or more, users are always given the option to comment. If they comment, a full story is published. If they don’t comment, a simple story is published. Users are subscribed to future updates from the button’s owner.

Now, all versions of the Like / Recommend button publish a full feed story, whether a comment is added or not. The change has been applied retroactively, so old Recent Activity feed simple stories from Likes now appear as full stories. One exception is Like buttons that don’t represent real world objects and instead use the Open Graph og:type tag “Article”. These Likes for things including news articles, video clips, and photos do not appear in a user’s profile nor can those who Like these Open Graph pages be published to in the future.

Likes allow third-parties to publish future updates to a user, and therefore drive more traffic and create more lifetime value than Shares. This value lures additional third parties to implement Facebook’s social plugins, so it’s in Facebook’s interest to shift everyone from Share buttons to Like buttons.

The Share button is often displayed amongst a set of other buttons for Twitter, Digg, bookmarking, and email, but Facebook would rather have its own real estate opposed to being lost amongst the competition. Now that Facebook has given the Like button almost a year to prove its worth, third-parties would probably implement a Like button if they could no longer use the Share button, granting Facebook this improved placement.

The phase out of the Share button is evident in Facebook’s documentation. The “Facebook Share” typeahead result  shown when searching for “Share” on the developers site directs to the Like button documentation page.

One potential downside for users is if they participate in contests run by sites or apps that use Like buttons to tabulate votes. Some users might not want to publish a full feed story for each vote, and would have to delete the posts one by one after they’re published.

Overall, the change will benefit users, third-parties, and Facebook. Compelling Liked content from around the web will appear in the news feed more frequently, initiating discussions between friends. Third-parties will gain traffic from new users, inspiring more to implement Facebook’s social plugins.

This increased presence across the internet will spread awareness of Facebook, raise barriers for its competitors, and seed a client base for a potentially monetizable plugin, such as an Open Graph ad unit.

[Thanks to Amit Lavi and Paula Ford for the tips]

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53 Responses to “All of Facebook’s Like Buttons on Third-Party Sites Now Publish a Full News Feed Story”

  1. Quora says:

    Which is better to use, the share button or the like button?…

    Pros for Like * Easily recognized * One-click action * Low barrier to entry * Can have option to add a comment * Adds to Facebook search optimization Cons for Like * Cannot use Like to share via private message * “Like” has positive connotations, whi…

  2. All of Facebook’s Like Buttons on Third-Party Sites Now Publish a Full News Feed Story | The Write Side of My Brain says:

    [...] All of Facebook’s Like Buttons on Third-Party Sites Now Publish a Full News Feed Story. Share and [...]

  3. Facebook Like Button On News Websites Publishes News Feed Story says:

    [...] to embed the button because they will see higher social media referral traffic this way as well. [InsideFacebook] (function() {var s = document.createElement('SCRIPT'), s1 = [...]

  4. El Me Gusta de Facebook acaba con el botón de compartir | ReadWriteWeb España says:

    [...] Inside Facebook informa que la antigua versión de botón ‘Compartir’ ha sido eliminada de la documentación para desarrolladores. Hasta ahora los desarrolladores tenían varias opciones para decidir de que forma el botón enviaría el contenido a Facebook: el botón ‘Compartir’, un simple ‘Me gusta’ sin comentarios y una opción de recomendación con comentarios (en ReadWriteWeb en español incluimos esta posibilidad desde comienzos de 2011). A menos que se eligiera la última opción, los usuarios sólo veían un enlace en su muro. [...]

  5. emil says:

    those are exciting news, facebook is opening, Improving Your Ability to Share and Connect Facebook, google lost the battle ove social media for now, making it impossible task to advertise online facebook bring something new in the social circle world nice : )

  6. Diederick Online Marketing » Blog Archive » Facebook like button stream says:

    [...] de Like buttons op je website. Like buttons geven nu indien geklikt een complete nieuwsfeed, zie: InsideFacebook.com Facebook Inloggen met [...]

  7. Me gusta en Facebook: Nuevas funciones | Blog de Jose Miguel Ruiz says:

    [...] Inside Facebook informa que la antigua versión de botón “Compartir” ha sido eliminada de la documentación para desarrolladores. Hasta ahora los desarrolladores tenían varias opciones para decidir de que forma el botón enviaría el contenido a Facebook: el botón “Compartir”, un simple “Me gusta” sin comentarios y una opción de recomendación con comentarios. [...]

  8. Facebooks Like-Button auf Websites publiziert jetzt vollwertige Newsfeed-Einträge says:

    [...] Ab sofort erzeugt der Like-Klick einen vollwertigen Newsfeed-Eintrag: [...]

  9. Paula Ford says:

    To click the “like” button and have it automatically posted to my wall on FB is SO annoying!!! In particular, there is a very large monthly art competition that everyone votes on their favorite paintings by clicking the like button. There are usually over 700 entries. So, everytime we vote it automatically posts that entry on our wall. HORRIBLE!!!! Give us back the choice to post it to our wall, or NOT post it to our wall.

  10. Donate Your Account for Facebook might finally make sense => Kyle Shank says:

    [...] Facebook has changed how it deals with its many verbs (share/recommend/like) and made any Like a first class object within the feed.  Finally, Donate Your Account could work for Facebook by auto-liking links from Campaigns. [...]

  11. Facebook Updates the Like Button – More Prominent On Your Wall — BlogWorld Expo Blog says:

    [...] debuted the Like button last spring at the f8 conference, it has definitely grown in popularity. Inside Facebook noted that an initial 2.5 million sites integrated the button, and by August, 350,000 more sites [...]

  12. Chris Turitzin says:

    This is potentially a huge change.

    We did an experiment to test how viral the Share Button and Like Button were side by side: http://momentusmedia.com/blog/?p=362 We found that the Share Button was 23x as viral as the Like Button.

    This change could potentially make them equal or even make the Like Button more effective. We’ll setting up an experiment to pull in new data.

  13. El nuevo “Me Gusta” de Facebook sustituye a la opción de “compartir” | Con noticias de Facebook says:

    [...] Facebook ya ha retirado la documentación para los botones de “compartir” de sus guías de programación. El cambio va a ser retroactivo de modo que todos los botones publicados en contenidos antiguos acabarán teniendo el efecto del nuevo “Me gusta”, según cuentan en Inside Facebook. [...]

  14. I Like The New Like Button Functionality. Do You? says:

    [...] Have you even noticed a difference? Amplify’d from http://www.insidefacebook.com [...]

  15. Melanie Hetfield says:

    That’s changing ‘Likes’ into ‘Retweets’

    So now we have FB having ‘shares’ (retweets) and Twitter having FB adverts displayed.

    It seems there is more going on behind the scenes that Twitter & FB are not letting one.

    :)

  16. Josh Constine says:

    @Paula: That’s an interesting point. With this new version, your only option to Like without publishing a prominent feed story is to immediately remove the post from your wall.

  17. Elizabeth says:

    If there will automatically be a big story posted, then I will “like” very few things. I don’t want the extra clutter on my wall or on my friends feeds. Most “likes” are NOT worth that much attention. I hope there’s a way to block what my friends “like,” so I can avoid more FB spam.

  18. Ari Herzog says:

    Does the verb truly matter? All that *should* matter is the action can be tracked, no?

  19. Profits .IM says:

    Interesting article at Profits.IM http://profits.im/54/facebook-google-killer/ about how this is going to lay the groundwork for Facebook’s content network and put them in direct competition with Google. Interesting times ahead…

  20. Andy T says:

    Hm, Facebook is everywhere, it knows everything about its users!

  21. FaceBook Changes “Like” Button Results says:

    [...] Inside Facebook: The Full Like button Story [...]

  22. I Thought I Understood Facebook Until….. | Canteen Creative Communications says:

    [...] All of Facebook’s Like Buttons on Third-Party Sites Now Publish a Full News Feed Story [...]

  23. Facebook Update: Like Buttons on Third-Party Sites Now Publish a Full News Feed Story says:

    [...] From Inside Facebook: [...]

  24. Don says:

    “Likes allow third-parties to publish future updates to a user.”

    Where in the world does this information come from? I’m pretty sure you are 100% wrong!

    The only way I can publish updates to visitors who Like my website’s content is if they Like my website’s facebook page. Just liking content on one of my website’s pages gives me no access to contact them in the future.

    Where did you get that from?

  25. Ken @ Camo Nets USA says:

    This will definitely increase the adoption of the like and share buttons on almost all types of sites.

  26. Facebook’s New Like Is Unlikable | Gizmodo Australia says:

    [...] sites, which means more sites using the Like button, which means more money for Facebook. Hurrah! [Inside Facebook via Geekosystem] Tagged:facebookonlinesocial [...]

  27. links for 2011-03-01 » Wha'Happened? says:

    [...] All of Facebook’s Like Buttons on Third-Party Sites Now Publish a Full News Feed Story (tags: facebook socialmedia like) [...]

  28. Facebook: το κουμπί “Like” τώρα κάνει…“share”! « Gadgetfreak says:

    [...] ενώ, για την ώρα, θα δίνει και τη λειτουργία του Share. Το Inside Facebook αναφέρει πως το Facebook έχει αφαιρέσει αναφορές στο κουμπί Share από τα [...]

  29. Noul Like al Facebook - cam neplacut - Gadget.ro - Hi-Tech Lifestyle says:

    [...] Sursa: insidefacebook [...]

  30. Like versus Share on Facebook Explained | Dan Soschin says:

    [...] article on Media Post: http://www.insidefacebook.com/2011/02/27/like-button-full-story/ does a great job explaining the new differences between like and share. The bottom line is that [...]

  31. Facebook: el botón Me gusta avanza sobre el de Compartir | Conectados says:

    [...] El cambio es retroactivo: todos los Me gusta en el Muro se han modificado y la vieja Actividad Reciente ya muestra la historia completa en el feed. [...]

  32. The Facebook Like Button is not Viral : Momentus Media says:

    [...] Facebook announced Like Buttons would publish full-sized feed stories, we ran the same experiment again to see how the new Like Button compares to the Share Button. This [...]

  33. Josh Constine says:

    @Don: You are incorrect. Here’s a link to our story explaining how admins of Like buttons have three options to publish updates to those who click their Like button: http://www.insidefacebook.com/2011/02/23/how-publish-like-button/

  34. Facebook改變了你Like其他網站的展示方式 | 活科技 Gadget of Life says:

    [...] [via Inside Facebook] [...]

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  39. Tech Week in Review 3-4-2011 | Black Web 2.0 says:

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  42. Facebook Adds Websites, Social Plugins, and Demographic Analytics to Insights | TonyTags.com says:

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