Share and share alike – just not with Facebook

Edit: Facebook has fixed this bug in the latest version of their app.

Here’s a common situation when you’re writing an Android app: you’ve got some text (a link, a test result, a poem you wrote about your love for Android) and you want to allow the user to “share” it with others. And if you’re lazy like me, you’ll quickly discover the fastest way to do it:

Intent intent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_SEND);
intent.putExtra(android.content.Intent.EXTRA_SUBJECT, "Android, oh Android.");
intent.putExtra(android.content.Intent.EXTRA_TEXT, "Wherefore art thou, Android?");
startActivity(Intent.createChooser(intent , "Share"));

This generates a screen that looks like this:

Isn’t that nice? And it only cost you five lines of code! But oh, if only it were so easy…

See, the problem is with the fourth guy there – Facebook. The Facebook Android app only supports sharing URLs, not arbitrary text. Most other apps work fine, but when you click on Facebook, you get this sad, broken-looking page:

For my own apps where I wanted to enable sharing (Japanese Name Converter and CatLog), I could have just left this as-is. I mean, this is Facebook’s bug – not mine, right? But then I realized that, whether it’s my fault or not, my users would see this ugly page and assume it was a bug in my app. So I had to get Facebook out of there.

After some Googling, I found this discussion, which pointed me in the right direction. In the thread, one of the posters basically gives you all the tools you need to build your own custom SEND_ACTION chooser. However, I found it was a non-trivial amount of effort to co-opt their code to do what I wanted it to do.

So I built a more easily extensible version.  Here’s the final product, based off that poster’s original Launchables class.  It uses the PackageManager to find all apps that respond to SEND_ACTION, then filters out Facebook and displays the rest in a simple ListAdapter.  The code is open source; do whatever you’d like with it. All you have to do is copy and the resource files into your app, and then use it as in It will create an AlertDialog like this:

It looks almost exactly the same as the default chooser, but Facebook is gone! Plus, I threw in a “copy to clipboard” action as a little bonus. This way, the user can always post her lovely poem to Facebook by copying the text, opening up the Facebook app, and pasting in the damn text manually.

And most importantly, no one will blame you for Facebook’s oversight.

Download the source code

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Simon on February 21, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    Some why the facebook expects URL in the EXTRA_TEXT. It does not work as a messenger.


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