The official Facebook plugin for WordPress launched in 2012 with the help of engineers from Automattic and currently lists 14 contributing authors. The plugin is active on more than 200,000 websites, but Facebook has not updated the plugin description page to let users know that it has been abandoned.
The Facebook plugin has received no updates since March 2014, and support questions have gone unanswered for approximately a year. The plugin’s star ratings have plummeted to 2.2 out of 5.
The official word on the plugin is that Facebook has abandoned it and it is now supported by the community:
The Facebook for WordPress was an officially supported tool to help WordPress developers integrate Social Plugins and publish Open Graph stories.
The plugin is no longer officially supported by Facebook but is maintained by the developer community.
WordPress.com VIP still uses the plugin and has it listed among its plugins and partners but has developed a version tailored to VIP customers. If the plugin is similar enough to the official one listed on WordPress.org, it would be helpful to have some of the changes ported back to the community version.
I spoke with Sara Rosso from the VIP team to inquire about Automattic’s plans for the Facebook plugin. Automattic’s official response indicates that they will not be part of the community support effort:
We’re currently supporting the Facebook plugin for use on the WordPress.com VIP platform, and we’ve made some modifications to it to work with our infrastructure. Automattic was a contributor to the initial version of the plugin (we provided some consultation and support), but there aren’t any plans to officially adopt ongoing development of the plugin as of today.
The plugin provides a complex assortment of features that utilize Facebook’s ever-changing APIs. As such, it’s not easy to support and requires regular updates to keep it current with changes at Facebook. The one-year old version is now riddled with bugs.
Until a new maintainer steps up to adopt the plugin, WordPress users have no choice but to use alternative community plugins, which are linked on the documentation for the official plugin on Facebook.com.
I think the only way this would thrive outside of Facebook updating the plugin is if it’s on a premium basis (paid for plugin) due to the number of updates you would need to make on a monthly basis. The Facebook API is not a fun beast to tame. But I think they should do the responsible thing and retire it properly.