How does Firstup determine the image, title, and description from a link? How do the social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn determine the image, title, and description of a link or share from Firstup?
Firstup Scraping Technology
When determining the image or text to pull from a link, Firstup leverages a tool called embed.ly, which follows the industry standards. The embed.ly tool looks for Open Graph tags such as og:image, og:title, and og:description and will also scrape the website page for possibly relevant content using internal heuristics.
Social Networks Scraping Technology
When you share a link post, image post, or article from Firstup to a social network, the social networks use their own proprietary tools to determine which images or text to pull in.
We are also not able to fully define the scraping methodology for any of the social networks or even embed.ly - these algorithms change over time, and are not publicly disclosed. However, for reference on what the major social networks have made public about their scraping methods:
- Facebook looks first for Open Graph tags, then falls back on internal heuristics - Facebook Developer Documentation
- Twitter looks first for Twitter card tags, then looks for Open Graph tags - Twitter Developer Documentation
- LinkedIn also looks for Open Graph tags - LinkedIn Developer Documentation
Can I test Firstup link post behavior directly?
The following URL can be used to test the results of embed.ly for a specific link that you might post in the Firstup platform. Replace <link> with the link that you are testing:
Why is the auto-generated content blank?
Occasionally content is not accessible when a link is scraped or previewed - for example, some websites require that a user is signed in to see the content, some links lead to redirects rather than content, and occasionally a page that looks like a website is actually a Java plug-in, all of which can lead to a blank link post. In this case, the individual posting the link will need to type the text and upload an image directly.
Why did a different image show up in the social network than was posted in Firstup?
While we are able to identify metadata tags, and we have some knowledge of what the social networks will look for, we cannot actually control how the target website processes those tags or scrapes a webpage.
For link posts in particular, most social networks look at the original link, not the Firstup post itself (and therefore they ignore any image that was uploaded in Studio). However, this is not consistent across all networks, therefore we cannot be prescriptive about how to control which image comes through.
If you have access to edit the metadata of the source content, you can provide og: tags that will help with consistency across platforms. See below.
What can I do so that Firstup and the social networks pull similar images, videos, or text?
You can create the content directly in Firstup without using a link to another website, so that Firstup is the source of truth about the post. For example, upload a video or create an article post. If you take this route, there is still a possibility that a target social network will simply not display the image that you uploaded in Firstup. The networks have algorithms to determine whether an image should be displayed, such as the image is a sufficient size.
If your source content is on a website where you can edit the page metadata, implementing Open Graph tags in a webpage's metadata can lead to more consistent results when posting content across Firstup, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, as they all check for og: tags. However, sometimes, different sites will make different decisions even about tagged content. For example, Firstup has different image size requirements for content cards than Facebook has for wall posts. If an og:image is too small, embed.ly may search the website page for a large enough image file.
What are these Open Graph tags you keep referring to?
The og: metadata tags were first developed by Facebook and have become an industry standard. The standards for og: tags can be reviewed on Open Graph’s website.