Ahhh, the Facebook “like”. What an amazing and simple idea that easily integrates Facebook technology into your websites into Facebook users. But lately, not so much…

If you’ve been cruising the web lately and tried to “like” anything, you may have noticed some odd behavior with the “like” buttons. The same goes for the recommend button, and the Facebook like box.

I first noticed that our Facebook plugin on the sidebar of our site hasn’t worked properly since the new Facebook pages has been introduced. More specifically, when you “use Facebook as” a page that you admin. If I am “using Facebook as” a page, go to our website, the whole plugin just whites out. At first I thought it was a problem with our code or WordPress. So I started navigating to other sites that use the same plugin, and the same thing happened.

Let me show you what I mean:

It wasn’t until recently that I noticed the Facebook “like” buttons have been acting up too. I discovered this when Karen and I were trying to get our Digg Digg social site plugins to work on our latest blog post. But, when I started to check out other sites’ “like” buttons, the same wonky behavior is happening to all the “like” and “recommend” buttons across the board. This is what is happening on our site:

The good news is that the “share” button is working great!

I figured Facebook obviously has a glitch, and it turns out they do. Starting on March 15, Facebook Bug Tracker shows this problem started occurring. Here is a link for the bug report. http://bugs.developers.Facebook.net/show_bug.cgi?id=15879 One of the proposed fixes in the posts was to add some code to the markup of the page, but later respondents reported that didn’t work at all. Currently, there is not a report of this bug as fixed, so we’ll just have to wait for Facebook.

Tonight, I went to Facebook’s developer page where you get the code for the all their social plugins and tested it there. http://developers.Facebook.com/docs/plugins/ None of them work there when you are “using Facebook as”. The one button that is not provided on that page is the “share” button (on our website, we insert the “share” button through the Dig Dig plugin on WordPress, so perhaps they have figured out the code for the new pages). Then I read about the “like” button and what the uses are, etc. I realized the “like” system was designed for individuals, and not pages, along with all the other social plugins.

“The Like button lets a user share your content with friends on Facebook. When the user clicks the Like button on your site, a story appears in the user’s friends’ News Feed with a link back to your website.”

The “share” button, however, works with the new structure of Facebook pages. It is intended to share and post on either your personal profile or Facebook page, and it works that way. Which worries me a little (unless of course they fix it soon!) because according to Mashable on February 27, 2011, they reported that the “like” button is taking over the “share” button: http://mashable.com/2011/02/27/Facebook-like-button-takes-over-share-button-functionality/

But, if you noticed lately, Facebook has replaced the “suggest to friends” with “share” on the bottom left of your Facebook page, so is it really here to stay?

What to do now? Well I’m hoping that Facebook will fix this soon, or a lot of people are going to have to update their websites! But I figure as long as you have both the “like” and “share” button on your posts, you should be covered until then. Kind of messes you up if you have a “like” count going though…

Lastly, I have to end with, I STILL LOOOOOOVE FACEBOOK! I am in no way intentionally bagging or dissing Facebook! I feel like Nancy Drew uncovering a mystery, and when I finally had some kind of answers, I decided to write this not only for my own clarification, but for others’ too. On the bugs forum, a lot of people seem frantic, and don’t see that the problem is directly linked to the “use Facebook as” feature. Hopefully I can provide some of those people with at least some clarification.