If you’ve tried sharing your Facebook posts on Twitter, you know how ugly it can be to see the link show up on your tweet without a preview.

To understand why this happens, let’s see how link previews work.

Link previous work differently across different social media channels.

Twitter, specifically, uses something called ‘Twitter Cards’ to show link previews. Think of these cards as collections of code which uses meta tags to find preview images, text, or even preview audio / video clips.

‘Twitter Cards will only be displayed in a post if the site you’re linking to has Twitter Card information available on the site itself which tells Twitter to display a Twitter Card.’

You can do a quick Twitter card validation for the links you’re sharing here: https://cards-dev.twitter.com/validator

So, let’s try this validation for a Medium post, a LinkedIn post, and a Facebook post:

1. LinkedIn post

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 11.47.10 am
You can see the message returned by Twitter saying ‘*.linkedin.com is whitelisted for summary_large_image card’

2. Medium post

You can see a similar message being returned for a medium post:
Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 11.48.55 am

3. Facebook post

This is where things get ugly.
Here’s the message returned for a Facebook post:
Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 11.49.58 am

Now, this means that the post links on Facebook are not really set up for Twitter cards. Unfortunately, this is something only the developers (in this case, Facebook) can set up.

The best you can do is test the links using the validation tool before sharing them, especially when you’re sharing from a new domain.

And if you own a domain or you’re running or your blog or site, do setup Twitter cards for yourself.

Note that the validation tool works for specific links (web pages), not the entire domain.

Also, remember that link previews are not the only kind of Twitter cards. You can see Spotify uses Audio cards to play audio clips within tweets:

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 11.55.02 am

And on the other end of the spectrum is the ugly facebook.com links all over your tweets!