This post is 50% rant, 50% a heads-up to the Facebook devs, and 50% mathematical enigma…
For a while now I’ve shared other people’s Facebook posts on my personal profile and noticed that some of them would show up as expected, while others would show up… differently. And by “differently” I mean incorrectly and therefore badly. I’ve just discovered why and how it happens: the issue is with sharing via mobile in particular.
Sharing on Facebook desktop vs Facebook mobile
When you share someone’s post, if they have written some text while sharing a link and you hit the ‘Share Now (Friends)’ option, you expect the whole lot to be shared: the text, the link, and it should say “Steve Morgan shared [original poster]’s post.” Like this:
This is how it works – on desktop. On mobile, Facebook strips the text and the “Steve Morgan shared…” bit, and only shares the link. Completely devoid of context. Here I am tapping ‘Share Now (Friends)’ on mobile…
…and here’s the end result:
I’m using an iPhone 7, currently on iOS 10.3.2, and the version of the Facebook iOS app is 132.0. Not that I think any of that matters, given that it’s been happening for a while (so I don’t think it’s iOS or app version specific).
It’s not just bog-standard posts that’s affected
At first I thought it was only normal post-sharing functionality that was affected. But I discovered the issue when I tried sharing an ‘On this Day’ post.
When you share one of these, there’s supposed to be a cutesy little banner saying “# Years Ago – See your memories >” that goes with it. Share it on desktop and here’s how it looks:
Share it on mobile and… *pfft*
The first one makes sense (aside from the missing image, but that’s a whole other weird issue). The second one just looks bizarre – it looks like I’ve just randomly shared a random post for no reason.
Why it sucks
Let’s face it – it’s a really annoying error. Not just for the aforementioned reasons that it shares the posts/links without context and/or without credit to the original poster, but also for the following reasons:
- People might misunderstand why you’re sharing it. For example, I once shared a post from a friend who shared a BBC News article about Brexit. He’s a Polish national living in the UK, and he left a really heartfelt message along with it saying that he was concerned that he, his wife and his UK-born daughter might be deported back to Poland – despite having lived and worked here for nearly a decade – because of the whole shitshow. I wanted to share his message more than the link itself, so I shared the post. In the end, because I did it via mobile, it only shared the link on its own: the article about Brexit. Before I realised (and subsequently deleted it), someone who I was friends with who is pro-Brexit commented on it taking the piss. If they’d read the original post from my Polish friend, he probably wouldn’t have responded in the way that he did. It was annoying as hell because I expected Facebook to share it in a certain way, and it shared it in a completely different way. A complete shambles.
- While I now know to avoid sharing from mobile, it’s still a giant headache… Firstly, I might still share via mobile out of habit (it’s gonna take a while to get used to, to be fair). Secondly, I might think “ok, I wanna share that, but I’ll do it the next time I’m at my computer.” But by the time I get to my computer – whether it’s just a matter of minutes or even a few hours later – I might’ve completely forgotten all about it. Sharing opportunity missed.
Facebook: please fix it
I use Facebook a lot, and I have a feeling that I use it on mobile a lot more than I do on desktop – especially during evenings and weekends, when I’m not near my computer or laptop. If Facebook could fix it at their earliest convenience then that’d be grand. Ta.