Facebook announced this morning that it is launching “embedded posts.” Essentially, you can now embed a Facebook post, picture, or video in any website, anywhere, as long as the post is public.
The process is identical to embedding YouTube videos on your blog.
Once embedded, a post is like a little bit of Facebook living on your website. Visitors can like the post, and share it right from your blog. In addition, visitors can like the page from which it originated right from the embedded post, or, if a post has been published by an individual, they can follow the original poster right from the embedded post.
Here’s an example of an embedded post:
The posts allow about 100-150 words within the embed; to read longer posts you’ll have to click “See more” and follow the link back to the original post on Facebook. In addition, to comment on a post, visitors will have to follow a link back to Facebook.
Facebook is rolling out the feature slowly, starting with CNN, Huffington Post, Bleacher Report, People, and Mashable, and broadening the launch to other sites “soon.”
You used to hear complaints from open web advocates that Facebook was a “walled garden.” The reality now is that this garden is growing, shooting tendrils all over the web in ways even more obvious than its almost-ubiquitous Like buttons.
Embedded posts do raise interesting questions, of course.
One question is which posts, exactly, can be shared. For instance, the social network says that “only posts set to public can be embedded on other web sites” in its official announcement in the Facebook newsroom, but there’s a slightly different description in a Help Center update: “most Public posts can be embedded onto a website.”
Facebook has probably attempted to mitigate any backlash by restricting the number of sites that can embed posts, at least initially. Most users won’t notice the change, and when Facebook does open it up to more sites, it will be simply an extension of an existing program, not a new initiative.
Facebook has a history of opening up big cans of privacy worms that cause massive user backlash; but that anger inevitably subsides after a few weeks.
As always, check your sharing settings on Facebook to enable or disable public posting.