By 2 years ago in Socialised

How ‘licking’ breaks Facebook in Chrome

French based rolling paper company Odet-Cascadec-Bolloré or OCB have recently launched a cutting edge Facebook campaign that invites you to embrace a gradation system within the Facebook ‘Like’ paradigm.

Their campaign video (below) encourages Facebook users to ‘say goodbye to the Like button’ and instead, ‘welcome the new and cooler way of rating on Facebook’ and that ‘Lick is the new Like’:

OCB are not the first company to find fault with the one-dimensional and progressively more emotionally obsolete Facebook ‘Like’; Super Bok held their own Change the Like Button Petition, a campaign that worked really well for the brand and garnered 102k Likes to the petition Facebook page alone.

Never-the-less, the idea seemed really novel and as a Social Media Strategist, I was instantly interested and visited their dedicated site. I made sure I was signed-in to Facebook with my personal account and not Branded3 or any of the other brands I work with in case there was any funny business.

Low and behold, when visiting company pages through a personal account, Likes turned to Licks and I was very amused.

I went on to ‘Lick’ a status of my colleague Fi Dunphy’s. She then checked her notifications and was informed that I had simply ‘Liked’ her update which showed the ‘Lick’ was simply a one sided action which made me less amused.

I carried on with my day which generally includes moving from one Facebook account to another, but to my apprehension, I found I was unable to access any of my client’s or the Branded3 company Facebook pages using the switching panel on the top right.



I had to think for a moment what could be causing the problem and realised, the only thing that had changed today was the installation of the Lick plug-in.I immediately un-installed the app and my Facebook privileges were reinstated. Luckily I was able to decipher the problem pretty quickly thanks to my knowledge of how browsers and plug-ins work.

What worries me though, is what effect the plug-in might have on Facebook users who were a little less tech-savvy, a small business owner with a Facebook page for example, they could be left without access to their account indefinitely if they couldn’t work out what was wrong.

I thought I would test the effects on my Facebook pages when using Internet Explorer but the plug-in is not compatible with that browser.

I thought it was also worth carrying out a test using FireFox which has a much scarier warning notification on adding the plug-in:

Interestingly, when using Firefox, the plug-in does not have any effect on accessing Facebook brand pages and I was able to ‘Lick’ as Branded3:

I initially thought the barrier I was facing was intentional so as not to allow brand pages to become covered in little blue tongues, whether their audience could see it or not, but it seems the bug lies with the Google Chrome plug-in.

So the reason that Chrome app breaks the drop down menu is because it loads in a JavaScript library called jQuery. Facebook’s code and jQuery use the same namespace (it’s a bit like trying to a put a file that’s already got the same name as something already on your desktop, it’ll overwrite it).  This ends up inadvertently breaking the bits of Facebook that use the JavaScript like that drop down.

The developers of the plug-in were more than likely doing the majority of their testing using Firefox and overlooked what might happen when using Google Chrome.

Please note, the switching section on the right hand side of your home screen is not affected —->

To prevent this from happening to a project you have in the pipeline that, like the OCB campaign, is really interesting and full of potential, but vulnerable to the same folly you have to make sure you have the jQuery elements of Facebook in mind from the very outset of app development giving specific thought to how websites work in differing browsers.



By at 10:52AM on Wednesday, 19 Jun 2013