How Share Count of Facebook And Other Networks is Calculated
As you know your MashShare Share Buttons are having a prominent share counter beside of them. As it is often unclear how this counter is generated and what the share count means in detail i am trying to bring some lights into the dark today.
MashShare is returning the total share count for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, Buffer, Stumbleupon, and VK.com.
Explaining the share count for all networks except facebook is easy:
The share count number reflects the number of appearances of a specific url within a network.
Any url shared either via share buttons or directly on the corresponding network is counted and the counter increments with the same amount.
Note that sharing the same url again and again from the same social account only results in one share and not multiple ones.
Now let’s see how facebook is counting any shares of a specific url:
Even for us it was unclear for a very long time how a share is counted on the facebook network. The reason is that there is no official documentation about the share count definition on facebook.
While we were trying to find out the algorithm how facebook is counting the share number we stumbled over a quote from a facebook engineer:
… if person A shares a link (for example, https://www.mashshare.net/, this generates a story on person A’s timeline.
If person B comments on this story, this in turn generates a story on person B’s timeline….would then return a count of 2.
So what does that mean for the facebook share count?
Any share that is done either via the MashShare Share button or internally via the sharing function on a facebook post for the same url is counted as one separate share.
Beside of that every extra comment made on the internal facebook post increments the share counter as well when the comment is made within the timeline of the commenting user. Additionally we noticed that likes of a post are also taken into account.
The MashShare Share Counter includes: Likes and Shares of a unique url on the facebook network!
Let’s illustrate it. Images are saying more than thousand words:
We were able to confirm that often but unfortunately not every time! So it seems as when facebook takes a few more signals of interaction into account for generating the share count or we were not able to verify it completely because we were not able to see all the timelines were our shared posts appeared.
So we came to conclusion that not 100% of all comments on a internal facebook post are used as basis for the share count but if you have a high comment and shared ratio on your facebook posts you can say for sure that these interactions are used by facebook for creating the total share count of your post.
If you have more insights how facebook shares are calculated please write in the comments or leave us a message