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Removing the fbclid Parameter

Removing the fbclid Parameter


Late last night, there was a report that came in from an anonymous caller stating that the website was not working correctly when trying to connect to web pages from the social media posts. After some exhausting troubleshooting, we were able to re-create the reported issue and the entire web development and programming team was called into the office to come up with a solution.

What was happening

From what we can tell, Facebook has started adding a parameter to the end of the URL's when a visitor clicks on the link in Facebook, which then re-directs to the website. This additional ?fbclid=###### was causing the website to not load the department related images correctly and would throw off the layout of the website.

Also, certain elements on the site would not work as well, such as the correct logging of the social media share counts, and loading the code needed to display slideshows. Last week one of our developers had noticed that the images within the footer of the page was not being displayed correctly, but they were not able to duplicate the problem. Thinking that this may have been just a random glitch, it was not pursued.

Another problem was coming from Twitter, where an added "/" was being added to the URL causing the same issues.

Why these social media sites were adding this additional information to the end of the URL that we explicitly declare within the heading of the pages is unknown. We reached out to both social media companies, and no one was available for contact or support. WE HAD TO GET THIS RESOLVED, and quickly.

This was a major issue since most of our visitors from the lower 48, would connect to the website from links that are being put out in social media. When they would first come to the site, most of the layout was not loading correctly.

How we resolved the Issue

The website has a built in re-direct system that will redirect the visitor to the appropriate section on the website based on the URL. Within this redirection system we were able to add a few lines of code that would:

  1. Remove the added parameter from the end of the URL (i.e. ?fbclid=######)
  2. Remove the added "/" at the end of the URL.

After a few hours of testing out the solutions, the division is confident that we have fixed the glitch and this issues are now resolved.

The following is the code that the team came up with that fixed the issue. We are providing the code here in case anyone else might be experiencing the same issues with their website. This code needs to be added in your re-direction script.

The first two lines will remove that additional parameter added to the URL, and the second two lines will remove the added "/" at the end of the URL. (A huge thank you to Alex - one of our programmers - for setting up a test server and spending hours developing this code. Without his efforts this issue would have not been resolved. Alex will be recommended for a Golden Candy-Cane Award).

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^(.*?)(&?fbclid=[a-zA-Z0-9_-] )$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /$1?%1 [L,NE,R=301]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule ^(.*)/$ /$1 [L,R]

Issue Found with the Naughty/Nice List Database

The team also found an issue with the Naughty/Nice database last night. Something had changed with the coding of the database; whereas, when someone would initially search their name, the result would be be blank. When they would come back and search their name the second time, the problem did not exist.

This has been resolved, and we recommend that everyone check their status as soon as possible and let us know if they see anymore issues. We have found none at this time.

Gracey Kimble, would like to thank the entire team for coming together in the middle of the night to get this all addressed and resolved. She will be providing lunch today in the staff room for everyone, please be sure to stop by and get some food!


Department of Elfland Security Website Department Website
Department of Elfland Security Website
About the Department of Elfland Security About the Department
Detailed information about the department and our involvement with The Assembly of Legendary Figures.
Elf Workers Union Handbook Elf Workers Union Handbook
Get your own copy of the Elf Workers Union Handbook.
Department of Elfland Security Frequently Asked Questions Department Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked question to the Department of Elfland Security from children all over the world and workers at North Pole City.
Golden Candy Cane Awards Golden Candy Cane Awards
Information about the Golden Candy Cane Awards and how to submit a candidate.

Removing the fbclid Parameter

The Department's Divisions

Office of Elf Affairs Office of Elf Affairs
The Office of Elf Affairs acts as a liaison between the elf workers union and the office of human resources.
Flight Command Division Flight Command Division
The Division of Flight Command is responsible for coordinating all of the flights to and from Santa’s Village at the North Pole.
Division of History and Research Division of History and Research
The Division of History and Research is responsible for researching and documenting the history of all of the legendary figures and the elf nation.
Forestry Division Forestry Division
The Division of Forestry is responsible for all agriculture at North Pole City.
Gift Wrap and Decoration Division Gift Wrap and Decoration Division
The division of Gift Wrap and Decoration is responsible for all designs and production of the gift wrap used at Santa's Village.
Office of Naughty or Nice List Office of Naughty or Nice List
This department is responsible compiling the naughty and nice database so that it is ready for Santa's second approval.
Post Office Post Office
As you can imagine, Santa's village receives millions of postal letters each day and the Post Office Division is the center of all of these communications.
Division of Research and Development Division of Research and Development
The Division of Research and Development is responsible for all of the technology advances at North Pole City and within Santa's Village.
Mrs. Claus Kitchen Mrs. Claus' Kitchen
This division is responsible for the serving food to all of the elf workings within Santa's Village.
Division of Tailor and Seamstress Division of Tailor and Seamstress
This division is responsible for designing and manufacturing the clothing for all of the elves at North Pole City and Santa\'s Village
Santa's Workshop Santa's Workshop
This division of Santa's Village is responsible for the creation and assembly of all of the gifts that Santa's delivers on Christmas Eve.
Security and Investigation Division Security and Investigation Division
The Security and Investigation Division also known as the Security Detail is responsible for all of the Security Detail is responsible for the guarded security of all of the members of the Assembly of Legendary Figures.
Santa's Reindeer Stables Santa's Reindeer Stables
Santa's Reindeer Stables elves are responsible for the care of Santa's reindeer and sleighs. They keep the team and fleet in top flying condition at all times.
Landing and Preparation Team Landing and Preparation Team
The Department of Elfland Security's Landing and Preparation Team is the group of elves that are deployed ahead of Santa Claus to make sure that all is well before Santa lands to make his deliveries or visit.
WWW / PR Office WWW/PR Office
The office responsible for website updates and public relations.

Child Safety

Child Safety Guide for Parents A Child Saftety Guide For Parents
Child safety is one of the most vital issues to consider during child rearing. This site is full of useful information for child safety.
McGruff Craime Dog McGruff.org
McGruff the Crime Dog and pal, Scruff, bring ideas about kids staying safe through safety puzzles, games, and coloring pages.
iKeepSafe.org iKeepSafe.org
Information about on-line child safety.

Department Resources

WorldOMeter WorldOMeter.info
Provides live statistics of vairous items all over the world.

Pinterest Boards

Elves Caught Elves Caught
A Pinterest Board showing "Scout" Elves Caught from around the world.
Elves at Work Elves at Work
A Pinterest Board of Elves at Work
Puzzle Layout Tester

Pinterest Board

WELF-NPC North Pole City Radio On-Air