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How to Use Facebook’s Social Plugins

Social Plugin refers to websites that use Facebook information within their own websites. These plug-ins may or may not be similar to the applications you use within Facebook; however, you don’t need to allow access to your Facebook information in order for a Social Plugin to work. It may be more accurate to say that these plug-ins use a Facebook link that you establish to make your experience more social.

Like and Send buttons

With Social Plugins, you can like virtually anything, anywhere on the web. Facebook has made it very easy for companies to add Like buttons to their online content. Many blogs and news websites put Like buttons, along with a count of likes, alongside every single article. If any of your friends have liked something, you may see their names in addition to the number of likes.

Some sites may prompt you to share that you have liked something, as io9.com does. When you click Like, a window pops up prompting you to post the like to Facebook. When you do this, the fact that you liked it is shared on your Timeline and may appear in your friends’ News Feeds.

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Similar to the Like button, some websites feature Send or Share buttons. Likes are shared publicly through Timelines and News Feeds, but sending or sharing something allows you choose how you want to share it and with whom.

The Share box looks pretty similar to the Share box on your Timeline. You can choose to share it on your Timeline, on a friend’s Timeline, with a group, or as a message. You can also adjust the privacy using the Privacy drop-down menu next to the blue Share Link button.

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Any content you like from Facebook may be shown on your Facebook Timeline and may appear in your friends’ News Feeds. If liking a controversial article might make waves with some of your friends, you can instead choose to send it as a message or share it with specific privacy as a post. In either case, you can tailor who sees that link.

Comments

In theory, any blog can add a Comments box so people can quickly sign in and leave comments. If you're logged into Facebook in the same browser as whatever you're reading, you may not even have to log in to use the Comments box. If you leave the Post to Facebook check box selected, your comment will also be posted back to your Timeline.

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Feeds

Virtually every news site is a feed of updating posts, so it makes sense that you might want some help from your friends in understanding what to read or pay attention to. A few types of plug-ins help with this:

  • Recent Activity or Activity Feed: Recent Activity boxes on websites display recent actions taken by your friends on the website in question.

  • Recommendations: Recommendations shows similar information to recent activity, although instead of what’s most recent, it shows what’s been liked by the most people in order to show what you might like as well.

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  • Like boxes: Like boxes can show who has liked a website’s page on Facebook, as well as display a feed of recent posts from that page. A sample Like box from the PostSecret website appears.

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