How to Customize the Thumbnails for Shared Links in Facebook

Facebook has a new feature that gives you more control over the image thumbnails for shared links. Here’s how it works.

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In the current version of its design, Facebook has a new feature that gives you more control over the image thumbnails for shared links. You can change or add a new image that displays with a shared link. You can also add more than one (up to a total of five).

Here’s a quick guide on how to use it.

You start with the way you’d usually start: by pasting the URL of the link you want to share in the usual spot, where it says “Write something.”

It should then generate a preview. Ideally, it should already have a default image displaying if the webmaster has their site set up properly to accommodate that. Some sites don’t, so you might end up without out an image. But that’s not a problem–you can add one.

Under the link preview you’ll have a section at the bottom under Available images. This is where you control the thumbnail. Like this:

The image at the left, if there is one, is the default thumbnail. If you click on the plus sign, you can select a new image to upload.

Once you do that, the layout of the preview will change. The thumbnails will be larger squares (300px by 300px) and it’ll cannibalize some of the section where the text was. It will also automatically create a carousel where you can click on the arrow at right to move to the next image.

Importantly, each image is its own link back to the URL. So it becomes like a hybrid of a shared link and a small photo gallery.

You can choose up to five thumbnails. They’ll all be added to the carousel.

You can also select and deselect individual images from the filmstrip at the bottom. So if you wanted to change the single thumbnail, you can deselect the default one and select the new one.

UPDATE: At some point by the fall of 2017, the ability to deselect the original image was removed. Now you can use the original image by itself or add more images to it, but you can’t deselect the original one.

You can also drag and drop the thumbnails to change the order.

So in this example of what it looks like when it’s published to the Facebook timeline, I’ve changed the thumbnail from the default one by uploading a new image and retained it as a single thumbnails.

And in this one, I’m using multiple images.

Being able to change or add the shared link thumbnail is nice, but being able to add multiple images, each one automatically making its own link back to the shared link, is an especially welcome feature.

David Coleman / Photographer
by David Coleman

I'm a professional freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here. More »

28 thoughts on “How to Customize the Thumbnails for Shared Links in Facebook”

  1. Hello, do you know if it is still possible to add a link to a thumbnail? When I hover over each thumbnail, I only get the option to tag or edit the photo. I really need to post multiple photos, each with a unique link, in a group post on Facebook. Any help would be appreciated!

  2. Strange thing – my blog won’t show images when you cut and paste the url.

    so when I want to share my latest blog post on facebook, twitter, etc. I have to upload images myself – or say if a friend is sharing my URL it doesn’t’ work either – either for the general url “” or the link to a specific post.

    Any ideas? what is going on with my blog?

    • The og image tag is not set correctly on the blog posts. When the og: image tag is set, you need to update cache in facebook debugger.

      After that, you and your visitors can see the updated link preview thumbnail on Facebook.

  3. I really miss being able to customize link previews on Facebook! I’ve been using for the past few weeks, it basically brings back the ability to edit link previews. I’m using it for the pages that I manage and so far it’s working well.

  4. Gutted that Facebook will no longer allow the default image to be replaced. Apparently they’ve done it to prevent ‘Fake News’. I work with clients promoting their businesses on Facebook and it’s really limited the effectiveness of what I can do for them. Such a shame. Surely Facebook should deal with the Fakers – not people that are just trying to make an honest living!

    • I have come across one sort of workaround that I noticed the other day when I went to add a link. If you post via Buffer you can still upload a different image as the thumbnail. Not sure if that also still works with some of the other third-party posting services like Sendible and Hootsuite as well, but it might. If you’re working with business clients, those options might be worth looking at.

        • Update 2019: I tried your suggestion of using Buffer and I got the following warning message:

          “Heads up! We’re unsure if all the Facebook Pages you’ve selected are allowed to make changes to link previews. Please bear in mind that if you do make changes, the link attachment may look different once published on Facebook. You can read more about Facebook’s current link editing policies here.”

          After posting to Facebook, the original link photo appears, not the one I replaced it with! :( So frustrating!

    • I have started my weekly blog posts with tips and accompanying pictures (sometimes on what NOT to do). Facebook now selects these pictures and includes them in my link. Sadly, these are not images that would entice anyone to click on the link I’ve posted. To add insult to injury, the auto-selected images are poorly represented because they are poorly cropped. Whoever is responsible for this choice has made Facebook look bad. Literally.

  5. Thanks for this information. Recently, Facebook forces the original default image to publish along with the link/status update but allows me to upload an additional image. But it won’t let my uploaded image replace the default image. I used to be able to de-select the default image without problem. Have they changed it to force a carousel if you upload your own image? Or am I making a mistake somewhere now? TYIA!

    • I’ve tried it just now and am finding the same behavior you mention–you can no longer deselect the original image, so all you can do is add more, not replace the original. I’m not sure when that was changed.

  6. I am able to add more images, but not select only my image. It only allows me to either use the originally populated image + multiple images or just use the original. I can’t change the image to the photo I want. Help me!

  7. The available images list is not displayed to me and no big plus button to add additional images. Is there something I must activate in the settings to use this feature, or is this feature not yet available world wide? I’m from Germany.

    • There’s nothing special to activate. Facebook often rolls out new features gradually. I don’t know how far along in the roll-out they’ve gotten or whether it’s complete yet.

  8. Hi,
    Thanks a lot for this instruction but whenever I upload my own images, the thumbnail becomes small. Any tips? Would really appreciate it!
    All the best,

    • That’s odd. I haven’t run into that issue with the current version. It’s something that used to happen seemingly at random in the old version, but having added quite a few links with the new version I haven’t run into it. I assume the images you’re uploading are reasonably sized?

      • Hi, I have the same issue for already a longer time now. Never been able to upload a pic that is actually big-sized. It would be great if there would be information or instruction on how to enable this. Already tested lots of ratios and sizes (put forward by info pages) but none worked – either a carousel, a small pic or a vertical but thin one. Best regards!

        • I wish I could replicate this issue to see what’s happening, but I haven’t been able to make it happen. I’ve been uploading link thumbnails with the new system on a nearly daily basis for the last few weeks and it’s working well for me. Without seeing it in action, I’m sure what could be causing it, I’m afraid.

    • I had the same problem and finally decided to just upload the picture. After it’s posted the picture does appear full size!

      • I think part of the problem is that if you’re posting a shortened url, FB forces a visual image (i’m not sure how they select it) so the user can avoid any malware or ill-intentioned site re-direct. I find that if I post the direct link to my articles I may select whatever image I’d like. Shortened? no-go.

        • Facebook selects the link preview with the og:image tags of the web page. If your link preview image can match with the size specified by Facebook sharing best practices, it will display the corresponding post size. It only depends on the open graph tags of the page.

          Since July 2017, Facebook has tightened the editing of share image: . When you share a link and upload 1.9: 1 (width: height) image to generate large thumbnail. It cannot generate the large post size as before.

          You can try the domain vertification process to get the capabilities. But Facebook makes it quite troublesome to pass through it.

          We are helping our online store owners to solve the problem. Therefore, we are launching a small web tool to solve the problem. It’s called . You can check more details here:

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