Facebook fb_xd_fragment Problem – .htaccess Solution

FacebookSara was trawling through Google Analytics for our sites and noted that a number of posts showed their URL’s with an appended “?fb_xd_fragment=” like this:

http://sitename.com/postname/index.php?fb_xd_fragment=
http://sitename.com/postname/?fb_xd_fragment=

This is a known Facebook bug with the “Like button” and one that Facebook probably won’t resolve as it has been ongoing for quite a while now. It hasn’t been a huge problem for us and happens a negligible amout of times, for instance according to Google Analytics it happened on only 631 out of nearly 1.84 million pageviews on Geek Is Awesome in the past 30 days.

Still, that’s 631 times that users were confronted with a blank white screen and had to refresh, and 631 times that AdSense and other advertisers ads were shown but couldn’t be seen by the reader. 631 times too many in my book.

Eric Enge posted a solution over on Search Engine Land back in June, but I think this solution may be simpler and have just finished adding it to a number of our sites. Eric’s solution may be more complete in that it may work better on things like WordPress Network (multi-site) installs but this simple .htaccess solution should work for everyone else by doing a 301 redirect back to the post URL if the bug occurs.

Eric also noted that some of their posts were showing up in the search engine results with the “?fb_xd_fragment=” attached, which is of course a potential content duplication problem. We’ve not seen any results for our sites in the SERP’s with the fragment attached but this solution (found on the Webmaster World AdSense forum) should solve that too as it provides a 301 redirect for the fragment.

Anyhow, enough rambling, here’s the bit of code to drop in your .htaccess file.

#Redirect For Added FB Fragment
RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^fb_xd_fragment=.*$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://yourdomain.com/$1? [R=301,L]

Hope this helps and remember that if you’re using something like WP Super Cache in WordPress don’t forget to hit the “update mod rewrite” rule button after adding the code so that it doesn’t throw that message at you telling you that a difference has been detected.

As always – you’re mileage may vary and any comments, questions and / or improvements are encouraged.

A Few Thoughts On Google’s Ideas On Making Copyright Work Better Online

Pirate KittyGoogle’s General Counsel, Kent Walker, updated the Public Policy Blog yesterday to talk about some changes to their handling of DMCA take down notices on YouTube and how they are going to take action against spam blogs using AdSesne.

Here’s a few choice and possibly random quotes from the post before I throw out my decidedly random thoughts:

There are more than 1 trillion unique URLs on the web and more than 35 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute.

But along with this new wave of creators come some bad apples who use the Internet to infringe copyright.

We’ll act on reliable copyright takedown requests within 24 hours.

we’ll improve our “counter-notice”tools for those who believe their content was wrongly removed and enable public searching of takedown requests.

We will prevent terms that are closely associated with piracy from appearing in Autocomplete.

We will improve our AdSense anti-piracy review.

Building on our existing DMCA takedown procedures, we will be working with rightsholders to identify, and, when appropriate, expel violators from the AdSense program.

Okay, enough quotes. Now for some quick reactions to the post.

Why is the automatic assumption that content is infringing when a DMCA notice is received?

Why, if my content is taken down should I have to apply to have it put back up? Shouldn’t the assumption be that I am using content withing the terms of “fair use” (unless it’s blatantly obvious I’m ripping something off) and make the person filing the DMCA provide explicit information on how it is infringing.  There might be a lot less DMCAs filed if companies and people have to explain how it is infringing and demonstrate that they actually know what infringement is VS fair use.

Google is placing an awful lot of faith in the entertainment industry to do the “right thing” and not much faith in their actual users. Or are the users the “bad apples” Kent Walker was referring to?

Blogs like TorrentFreak are going to have a hard time turning up on autocomplete. Anti-piracy blogs and piracy advocates alike will be smacked down by this one.

Good to see them making a move on spam blogs (splogs) but if they’re going to have a YouTube type procedure, then we’re all screwed. Prepare for rampant abuse from idiots who don’t understand, copyright, infringement, fair use, etc..

Finally, the thread on Googles post got into the usual “entertainment industry bashing” mode, but this interesting comment was made by Peter Griffon (it’s not his entire comment, he went off on a tangent, but this part was notable):

I think the “entertainment” industry just needs to realize no one wants to pay their outrageous prices for stuff. Instead of fighting with everything cut cost on stuff, people pirate stuff cause they cant afford it in most cases… I mean goto walmart and you see people digging thru the 5$ movies.. even thou they are B rated movies.. put new movies at 5$ they wont be able to keep them in stock…

O’Flaherty Episode #13 – Hail to the King!

Hail to the King!

Alec and I talk about Google, FeedBurner, privacy issues and Bruce Campbell?

Links

Credit

Download Podcast MP3: O’Flaherty #13 10.75 Mb 0:24:32