Tag Archives: rss

How Facebook Fails to Scrape

I just wrote an article on setting up Google’s new Buzz (social site) to pull data from my blog.  I wanted to follow that up with an article on how to get Facebook to do the same.  The only problem is Facebook fails to manage this simple process.

Google and Buzz manage to pull information from my blog by scraping or periodically checking my blog site for new posts.  Facebook, through Notes, claims to be able to take an RSS feed from my blog (really any RSS feed) and deliver information about new posts to anyone watching my Facebook account.  As fate would have it, there is a bug which breaks this functionality—a bug which is over a year known.

(See my comments below for the preferred method of alerting Facebook concerning your RSS feed.)

There is as yet no fix.  There is a really crappy work-around.  It is the same as adding an RSS feed, so here are those instructions (see update below for an easier update method):

  • Click on Account —> Application Settings
  • Click on Notes (this will take you to the My Friends’ Notes, and oddly this is the only way I have found to get to this particular page)
  • Click on Edit import settings » (in a box to the right)
  • If you are performing the work-around, click the Stop Importing button (it is convenient to copy your blog’s RSS URL first)
  • Enter your blog’s RSS URL into the Web URL: field (mine is jamesisin.com/a_high-tech_blech/?feed=rss2 )
  • Click the Start Importing button
  • You will then be offered posts to import; click the Confirm Import button

My RSS feed worked in Facebook for about 15 months.  Then it just stopped.  Now I have to perform this work-around anytime I create a blog post.  Fucking useless.  It’s only slightly helpful if I happen to create more than one post at a time.

Since Facebook has their own (crippled) blogging capabilities (Notes itself is a sort of blogging application) I have my doubts about Facebook feeling a strong motivation to fix the RSS problem.  However, maybe when they realize how soundly Google is kicking their ass with their ability accomplish blog-to-social-site updates (in spite of the fact that Google also has their own blogging application—at least BlogSpot and Blogger if I’m not mistaken) Facebook will suck it up and fix it.

Happy blogging.


I was pointed to another way to manually update RSS feeds.  Those instructions were not up to my annoying standards so I have re-written them.

  • Visit your Wall (which is to say go to your Facebook profile)
  • Beneath the “What’s on your mind?” Share button, click Options
  • This will reveal a Settings link; click it
  • This will reveal Stories Posted by You (and some other stuff); click Blog/RSS (which should be your blog)
  • This will reveal some settings for your blog; click Update Now

Not as painful.  I haven’t tested this yet. This will manually update your RSS activity.  Best of luck.