That number next to the Facebook share, like, or recommend button on most blog posts and articles is just plain wrong, so I’ve created the RealShare bookmarklet to show the real Facebook statistics for any web page.
Drag the RealShare button below to your browser’s favorites/bookmarks bar (scroll down for a video showing how to do this), then visit any web page and click on the RealShare button to see the actual number of people who have shared, recommended, or commented on that page.
Facebook’s Like Button plugin instructions provides an option to display the “total number of likes to the right of the button” but the documentation for their Share button explains that they really aggregate three numbers: “the total number of times the page was shared on Facebook, how many comments were added to the story shared on Facebook, and how many times friends Liked the shared story.”
In the screenshot below, it appears as if this story about WoW addiction was shared 313 times. The RealShare button reveals that it was actually shared only 138 times. The inflated number reflects those shares along with the 35 times the post was liked/recommended and the 140 comments left about that page.
What to do
Does the misleading number in that Facebook button put you at risk of losing credibility with your readers? Every reputable news provider (including independent bloggers) should answer that question. I’ve just disabled the Facebook button on this blog, and I hope you consider doing the same until Facebook fixes this accuracy and credibility problem.
Thank you to Ian Hamilton (@hmltn) for asking the question, Clint Watson (@clintavo) for reporting the news back in July, and for All Facebook for its Facebook Like Count Calculator that inspired me to create this little tool.