Facebook has been increasingly using their short URL fb.me over the past few week, however the move appears to be much less of an attack on bit.ly and instead a more effective way to generate traffic from other social channels and fill feature gaps.
Right now it’s annoying, I need to determine where to publish a photo: Facebook, Twitter, and now Instagram. However if I could upload an image to a single source, such as Facebook, and then have that image distributed across all my networks it would be much better. That is exactly what Facebook appears to be doing with their new URL shortening service. Take the following tweet published by Ben Blumenfeld of Facebook earlier today:
It appears to be an automated tweet (presumably from an unreleased service) which states Ben’s Facebook activity. This is somewhat similar to Twitpic which simply links back to images published through their service. If I was able to upload mobile photos to Facebook and have them automatically published out to Twitter, there’s no doubt that it would be my primary mobile publishing tool. While this is only the initial testing, I’ve been seeing similar stories from other Facebook employees over the past couple weeks.
This would only lead me to believe that Facebook is about to move to essentially try and kill off Twitpic, Plixi, and other photo sharing services that are currently filling the gap left by Twitter, who has yet to release their own photos application.