Fun With Facebook’s FB ME Shortener
Facebook has a number of creative ways that Facebook URLs can be shortened to make them more web and email friendly.
You may already be familiar with the fluid nature that exists between facebook.com and fb.com URLs:
Both of those URLs go to the same place with no special effort needing taken. This applies to most user created pages and profiles. It does not however apply to many pieces of content created by Facebook such as http://facebook.com/usernames and http://facebook.com/knownissues which will not work if shortened that way.
This is a simple domain redirect and works in a very fluid nature.
However, if you happen to be a twitter user, there’s a good chance you’ve run into two other types of URLs!
These two URLs are special in that they are actually using a custom URL shortener owned by Facebook.
The top ones, which are simply http://fb.me, are the ones that Facebook auto-creates when it shares your content to Twitter, etc. You could say that this is their in-house shortener.
The second one, which is http://on.fb.me, is actually a cousin (subdomain) of the first but has been integrated with the bit.ly URL shortener service.
So, if you visit bit.ly and shorten a Facebook related URL, you’re going to get an http://on.fb.me URL back from the system. This only works however for posts/pages/content that are on Facebook.
Because both of these shorteners are tied explicitly to Facebook, it makes the URLs more likely to be safe and thus these URLs might actually be more friendly than a default http://bit.ly URL.
However, because anyone can share stuff from FB to twitter or can shorten stuff in bit.ly, it’s important to remember that these URLs can still be used to redirect to dangerous and infected content. This is actually a rather common new attack type because people tend to trust the URLs perhaps too much.
A great use of the bit.ly integration is when you want to share a link, on a live presentation, webinar, or even email, to a custom tab on Facebook. Custom tab URLs tend to be long and wonky and so turning them into a http://on.fb.me URL is a great solution to this problem.
Have you see the http://fb.me shortener in action?