Extending Facebook Share
by Mark Kinsey - October 26, 2009 at 10:00am

Each week, users share more than 2 billion pieces of content on Facebook, and most of that sharing is facilitated by Facebook Share buttons across the Web, on websites like YouTube, Wall Street Journal, and Photobucket. With just a few lines of code, Facebook Share is the simplest Facebook Connect, feature you can add to a website. Today we're making the sharing experience on Facebook and off even richer by launching the next version of Facebook Share, with a live counter, as well as new ways to measure how content is being shared on Facebook.

Enabling Users to Share Content More Easily
Once you've added the Share button to your website, your visitors can share articles and rich media like video, audio, or images with their friends on Facebook. To make this sharing more interactive, we've added new functionality to show a live count of the number of times the current URL has been shared. Check out the new version of Share live now on The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed, as well as RTP from Portugal, Spanish football club Real Madrid, and German news magazine Stern.de.

Anyone can add the Share button to their website with little to no technical experience, and style the button from a variety of options. To get started, visit the Facebook Widgets page, or read our documentation on the Developer Wiki.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Sharing
We're also providing you with the tools to better measure your results on Facebook by opening up the analytics associated with sharing habits on Facebook.

With new Share analytics, you can now access the information associated with each link shared on Facebook, including how often:

  • Users share the link on Facebook.
  • Users "like" the shared story.
  • Users comment on the shared story on Facebook.
  • Users click back to your site from the story.

You can do this programmatically by calling the links.getStats API method, or you can run an FQL query on the link_stat table. Here's an example of calling links.getStats directly from your browser, where you can see the information on developers.facebook.com: http://api.facebook.com/restserver.php?method=links.getStats&urls=developers.facebook.com

By giving you access to this data for all URLs, we hope you'll create tools to help analyze and understand how users interact with your content on Facebook. Techmeme is already using this data for selecting top stories, bit.ly uses it for analyzing URL traffic, and awe.sm does for providing publishers with better analytics.

We’re particularly excited about giving you access to Facebook Share Analytics because it doesn’t require any complex setup or authentication. We look forward to seeing your integrations!

Mark, a product manager on the Platform team, is excited to see how you share (and hopes you'll share this post!)

Editor's Note: 10/26/09 1:15 pm - We'd also love for you to check out LA Times' and Cracked.com's use of Facebook Share.