Open Graph Blues

Terence notes that the Open Graph Protocol is… if not dead, abandoned.

Facebook Meta were the driving force behind OGP – and have now left it to fester.

That sucks, because OGP is still clearly very useful. It’s this HTML stuff:

<meta property="og:title" content="The Rock" />
<meta property="og:type" content="" />
<meta property="og:url" content="" />
<meta property="og:image" content="" />Code language: HTML, XML (xml)

For example, Apple’s iMessage uses those tags to make rich previews in message threads. People love the concept of rich previews and even innovate around it, making it better for everyone.

For example, Tyler Hillsman made an app Share Mastodon posts better to fine-tune via OGP tags and literally faking like it’s a Twitter URL for Apple (and whatever else… Slack, Discord, etc) to show the preview better.

Screenshot of what the rich preview looks like for Mastodon links vs what the rich preview looks like using the Share Mastodon Post better tool. The latter actually shows the text of the toot and removes the super gigantic user avatar in the former.

Tyler didn’t want to do this:

 Please Sherlock me, Tim.

And one could argue that he did it because the state of OGP ain’t great.

Speaking of Twitter, OGP doesn’t have everything Twitter needs, so they manually extended it and added their own proprietary stuff. Who knows exactly why, but one might think the stewards of OGP weren’t exactly on the ball.

On the Google front, they’ve decided to go with their own proprietary “structured data” thing like this:

<script type="application/ld+json">
  "@context": "",
  "@type": "NewsArticle",
  "headline": "Title of a News Article",
  "image": [
  "datePublished": "2015-02-05T08:00:00+08:00",
  "dateModified": "2015-02-05T09:20:00+08:00",
  "author": [{
      "@type": "Person",
      "name": "Jane Doe",
      "url": ""
      "@type": "Person",
      "name": "John Doe",
      "url": ""
</script>Code language: HTML, XML (xml)

That’s all kinds of blech to me. Reinventing the wheel for little reason. Would they have done all that if they thought OGP was receptive to updates and new ideas? Hmmmm. Perhaps not?

UPDATE: I called this blech above, but that was probably a rash first take. The home for Schema. org is a W3C community group, so is, I suppose, a bit more standards-minded than OGP is. Ned says it has the backing of Google, Microsoft, and Yandex, so there is also more agreement about this format. Perhaps a better future is trying to get everyone (Discord, Apple, Slack, Twitter, Pinterest, Mastodon… everyone) to support building rich previews from data rather than OGP.

Vercel has this OG Image Generation tool, which works perfectly fine with OGP information, but is just further proof that people are still excited and building cool stuff around the concept.

The real nail in the coffin will be if Facebook rolls out a proprietary meta tag for their own rich previews. 🫠. I’ll repost Terence’s plea:

This is my plea to Facebook Meta. If you’re no longer interested in improving OGP, OK. You do you. But hand it over to people who want to keep this going. Maybe it’s the W3C, or IndieWeb, or or someone

  • There have been talks and confirmation Facebook doesn’t really care:
  • Facebook wouldn’t mind handing it off:



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