Facebook’s FB.ME Link Shortener

November 5, 2012 · 15 comments

in Facebook

Fun With Facebook’s 
FB ME Shortener

Facebook has a number of creative ways that Facebook URLs can be shortened to make them more web and email friendly. 

You may already be familiar with the fluid nature that exists between facebook.com and fb.com URLs:

http://facebook.com/Ask.Kim
http://fb.com/Ask.Kim

Both of those URLs go to the same place with no special effort needing taken.  This applies to most user created pages and profiles. It does not however apply to many pieces of content created by Facebook such as http://facebook.com/usernames and http://facebook.com/knownissues which will not work if shortened that way. 

This is a simple domain redirect and works in a very fluid nature. 

However, if you happen to be a twitter user, there’s a good chance you’ve run into two other types of URLs! 

http://fb.me/zFsHSk69
http://on.fb.me/PNR3Ip 

These two URLs are special in that they are actually using a custom URL shortener owned by Facebook. 

The top ones, which are simply http://fb.me, are the ones that Facebook auto-creates when it shares your content to Twitter, etc. You could say that this is their in-house shortener. 

Screenshot of a Tweet, that originated from a FB post, and shows the fb.me shortened url

The second one, which is http://on.fb.me, is actually a cousin (subdomain) of the first but has been integrated with the bit.ly URL shortener service. 

So, if you visit bit.ly and shorten a Facebook related URL, you’re going to get an http://on.fb.me URL back from the system. This only works however for posts/pages/content that are on Facebook. 

Screenshot of bit.ly having produced a on.fb.me url from a facebook.com/askkim url

Because both of these shorteners are tied explicitly to Facebook, it makes the URLs more likely to be safe and thus these URLs might actually be more friendly than a default http://bit.ly URL. 

However, because anyone can share stuff from FB to twitter or can shorten stuff in bit.ly, it’s important to remember that these URLs can still be used to redirect to dangerous and infected content.  This is actually a rather common new attack type because people tend to trust the URLs perhaps too much. 

A great use of the bit.ly integration is when you want to share a link, on a live presentation, webinar, or even email, to a custom tab on Facebook. Custom tab URLs tend to be long and wonky and so turning them into a http://on.fb.me URL is a great solution to this problem. 

Have you see the http://fb.me shortener in action? 

 ~ Kim ~
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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Gautam November 5, 2012 at 6:57 am

hmmm…it’s great to hear that Fb has also Launched a Url Shortening Service.I will use it in The Nearing Future.
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Nick Catricala November 5, 2012 at 8:51 am

Kim,
how in teh world you know so much?? I tell you, I am learning 1000 fastr by just reading yoru post here… some of what I have learned I know that I coudl not learn it any other way since I am not so much involved but knowing you and your site.. made a lot of things very easy and simple… I just have to re-visit soem of your post to get to know what I need and when I need it.

This short link is great and I will use it since soemtime when I have used http://bit.ly I had some challenges.

Thnaks so much again.
nickc
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Dev November 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm

It was great to learn that facebook is using link shortener. It is good for the web I think. Previously I didn’t know how it works but after reading your post I got it clear in my head. Thanks for your useful post.

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Aasma November 6, 2012 at 2:01 am

I know about bit.ly url shortening service, I generally shorten url to share it on twitter only, because of it length limit.

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Patricia Gozlan November 6, 2012 at 6:58 am

It is good to know we can use bitly to shorten our Fb links especially for twitter feeds.
Thanks Kim you are always a source of useful tips!

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Michael Shook November 6, 2012 at 11:28 am

I have not used these shorteners very much, and I don’t really like to click on them at all, so if I can possible avoid them I do. I like to see what I am clicking on, I know that doesn’t mean too much as far as fogging a link goes, but I still feel better if I can see where the link is actually going.

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Robert Koenig November 6, 2012 at 5:36 pm

I was not aware of the new shortened URLs for facebook. Definitely handy, but some are easier to remember than others.

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Brankica November 6, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Hey girl, thanks for sharing this. I knew about fb.me but not how the on.fb.me was created. I guess I didn’t pay attention cause I set up that custom shortener and don’t normally shorten FB links on purpose, just let the social management tools do it for me.

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Jens P. Berget November 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm

This is the first time I’ve heard about the fb.me link shortener. I am usually using either bit.ly or the built-in shortener in HootSuite.

Thanks a lot for sharing.

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Sadie-Michaela Harris November 9, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Didn’t realise about the FB link shortner Kim, haven’t really used link shorteners much for some time but did have to the other day as FB kept unlinking the last – dash in a url I was posting so I resorted to Bit.ly in the end. Nice share thanks :)

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richa November 12, 2012 at 5:13 am

I had no clue about the FB link shortener as of now, but it do looks pretty simple and easy. I really learnt a lot by reading this post. Thanks Kim for this great and useful info, as always.

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Lisa Jahred January 5, 2013 at 9:16 am

Hi Kim! Thanks for the insight! Have been using bit.ly forever but wanted to use the shortened version for facebook. Great explanation. Thanks!

Lisa

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Akshay March 9, 2013 at 4:18 am

Of course this service will help. I have personally used my shorten URL in visiting card. which helps me to reduce the space as well it is comfortable in design.
Thank you for share so that Other’s can know about it.

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Andy Bailey November 24, 2013 at 4:36 am

I always seem to end up on your site for things I’m searching for!

thanks for the reminder that I can make on.fb urls via bit.ly

@:)
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Kim Castleberry November 24, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Hey, it’s nice to be loved!
Kim

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