Sharing is for Pizza-Reblog and Sharing Revisited

Sharing other people’s website content has been around since the introduction of the internet and a simple copy/paste was usually the medium by which content was shared. Needless-to-say, this wasn’t ideal, especially when entire posts were being “shared” without providing attribution and/or hotlinking images from the original author’s site. In order to give its users more control of their content, WordPress.com introduced Sharing and Reblogging, which have also proved to be problematic.

Back in the early days of Reblog, I and other bloggers covered the problems that were present in the feature and I hope you’ll take a moment to read some of those earlier posts to understand how Reblog has evolved. Please keep in mind that these are archival posts and were correct as of their publication date.

Selected Archival Reading:

Following a hair-raising guest post on Hugh’s Views and News back in January this year, I revisited our current post Sharing options. I’m not going to rehash the ethical morass involved in other people sharing your content on their own WordPress.com site, or theirs on yours, since we all agreed to allow Sharing content when we signed up for WordPress.com (under the WordPress.com Terms of Service, Article 8a-License). Instead, let’s review our available Sharing options and how each each one currently behaves (as of February 2022) so you can make an informed decision whether or not to use them. I know that most people reading this will avoid Sharing altogether, while others might not even be aware of how these options work and, thus, abuse this feature, knowingly or inadvertently.

For the purposes of this post, a “reblogger” is someone who shares content on their site using one of the official Sharing options mentioned below. To clarify, if you only link to someone else’s site with a comment about it, that is not “reblogging.”

PressThis Sharing Button

The PressThis Sharing button that appears at the end of a Post or Page opens a pop-up Editor window, which today may or may not contain the shared post title and nothing else. So it seems like this feature is currently broken and I’ve reported it to Support. (Example Post)

Reader Sharing Button

The Sharing button in the WordPress.com Reader opens a pop-up Editor window containing the Post title, an excerpt and a link back to the original post, all of which can be edited by the reblogger. It also hotlinks the original post’s featured image via the Jetpack Content Delivery Network. (Example Post) For one blogger’s unfortunate experience on this, see this forum thread.

PressThis Browser Bookmarklet

The PressThis browser bookmarklet opens a pop-up Editor window, which contains the Post title, an excerpt if you’ve highlighted some text in the original, and a link back to the original post, all of which can be edited by the reblogger. No image is hotlinked or uploaded to the reblogger’s Media Library. The PressThis bookmarklet can share any webpage regardless of where it is hosted, i.e. it’s not limited to WordPress.com sites. (Example Post)

All the above three Sharing options allow editing of the original post title, content and link prior to publication, but also allows the reblogger to add their own featured image, tags and categories, add additional comment content and save the post as a draft.

person holding a slice of pizza
person holding a slice of pizza

The Reblog Button

The Reblog button that appears at the end of posts behaves very differently from the other Sharing options.

Reblog publishes the post on the reblogger’s site instantly, including the original Post title, an automatically-generated excerpt that cannot be edited or removed, and a link back to the original post, which also cannot be edited or removed. A Reblog will also include any comment the reblogger added prior to clicking the Reblog Post button, and that comment can be edited post publication. (Example Post)

Illustration of a Reblog showing uneditable elements
The uneditable elements in Reblog

The Reblog also creates a pingback to the original post, which serves as a notification to the original blogger that their post has been reblogged (see notes below). The original blogger may need to approve the pingback before it appears in the original post’s comments.

A post created using the Reblog button not only links back to the original site, it also tells search engines to attribute the source post, not the reblog. (Note that you can only reblog the same post once, but if someone reblogs your Reblog, attribution will still be given to the original source post.)

Unfortunately, as I mentioned in my example post, Reblog again today also uploads images from the original blogger’s post to the reblogger’s Media Library, even though these images may not appear in the reblogged post itself. My thought is that because a Reblog is published immediately, a featured image is needed for the Publicize feature, provided Publicize is enabled on the reblogger’s site. Regardless, there is no justification uploading even a single image from the original post, even if permitted by the Terms of Service, when neither the blogger nor the reblogger may be aware of it happening. There can be real legal implications for rebloggers when those original images are under license, purchased or under copyright.

Why are my @wordpressdotcom post images being transferred to someone else’s Media Library? Oh, right. It’s #Reblog, silly. 🤦‍♂️

A printable chart of these Sharing options is available on this page.

woman in white tank top holding pizza

Please note that all my tests were made using the Firefox web browser. If you are using a different web browser or an older version of a web browser, your results may differ.

Other things to note:

Email me when reblogged: Way down in your site’s Discussion Settings, you’ll find the option to be emailed if someone reblogs one of your posts. Consider enabling it.

Pingback links on your site for Sharing that is not Reblog: Pingbacks and Trackbacks must be enabled in the Discussion settings on your site for this to work. Just like any comment, you can choose to approve a pingback or not. If you’ve enabled comment notification emails, you’ll also receive an email. Pingback notifications may not work correctly unless the reblogger has “Attempt to notify any blogs linked in the article” checked in their default Discussion Settings.

Appearance of Shared posts in Emails to subscribers and in the Reader: With the current exception of Reblog, you can add your own featured image to your Shared posts prior to publishing, which is then displayed on your Shared Post. Whether or not emails display images appears to depend on email client. Your mileage may vary wildly.

Appearance of Shared posts in Social Media (via Publicize): I had a mixed bag here. Depending on which social media site I Publicized to, some Shared posts showed the featured image, while others did not. On Twitter, the single post I created via Reblog was the only tweet that noted “reblogged on WordPress.com”.

UPDATE 18 March 2022 – be aware that if you use Publicize to share your posts to social media, your site must be fully Public in order for the featured image to display.


While I believe there are some good elements to the Reblog feature, such as the uneditable post excerpt and link, this recurring image issue outweighs anything else. Also, if a blogger has wisely chosen to remove the Reblog button from displaying on their site (by navigating to My Sites → Tools → Marketing → Sharing Buttons.
Disable Show reblog button under Reblog & Like), their post can still be Shared via the Reader Sharing button, which will then hotlink the featured image, as explained above. There is a Feature Request in the works to disallow Reader Sharing on sites where the Reblog button is not available. That’s an admirable first step, if it’s implemented, but not enough.

If we must agree to Sharing under the WordPress.com Terms of Service, WordPress.com should implement Sharing in a way that doesn’t leave its users open to possible litigation and respect user settings. Currently, our only options to prevent other users Sharing our content are to change our site visibility to Private or Hidden (which removes your site from appearing in the Reader for everyone but subscribers) or not sign up for the service to begin with.

As always, the information in this post is correct as of publication date. Changes are inevitable.

What has your experience been? Has your content been reblogged or have you reblogged someone else’s content?

Published by JenT

Retired dotcom forum moderator (2016-2021) helping WordPress.com bloggers since 2006, one answer at a time. Find me at wpcommaven.com.

20 thoughts on “Sharing is for Pizza-Reblog and Sharing Revisited

  1. I’m considering going Private . . . I don’t have that many regular readers (my best guess is under 20, and likely only single numbers for hard-core followers).

    I probably won’t because sharing/reblogging isn’t that much of an issue (yet), but it’s a consideration.

    The thing is, it’s practically impossible keeping someone from stealing your content, but it’s annoying that WP facilitates the process.

    Thanks for the reference and information.

    1. You’re welcome, as always. As a first step, maybe consider hiding your site from search engines. According to the Reader support guide, your site needs to be fully public to appear there, but it probably won’t help if someone is subscribed/follows your site. Being hidden still allows people to visit your site without needing to invite them to view it, which you will have to do if you go fully Private.

      Another thing to consider, the Reader support guide mentions that images need to be over 350 pixels wide otherwise they’ll be “skipped.” I wonder if that means they’ll just pick up the next image if it meets the width requirement. And Publicize is a mixed bag as far as image sizes go. Worth testing!

      It doesn’t matter what you call it, “stealing” or “sharing” by other WordPress.com sites is covered by the Terms of Service. But that doesn’t mean these official WordPress.com sharing utilities shouldn’t operate in a way that covers and respects its users as well. The current way Reblog works is especially onerous.

      If anyone else has had legal action pursued against them following their own Reblog of someone else’s WordPress.com post, please add it to this forum thread https://wp.me/p9CGUU-fSrb The more voices added there, the bigger the chance that things might move.

  2. Woah! Great digging and exposition, Jen.

    Scary stuff, and my immediate thought is that it is a gaping hole in the thinking at Automattic HQ, and surprising that it was ever set up that way. I can understand how, if an image is not downloaded but only referenced, then that there will be a gap in the reblogger’s post if the original poster removes the image. But the downside the other way of becoming the inadvertent publisher of copyrighted images is too bad a consequence to be allowed to happen.

    Looking at it another way, Automattic is the enabler – are they also liable for copyright infringement in all these cases as the publisher?

    1. Hi David, first, I’m not a lawyer. 🙂 To the best of my understanding, TPTB are covered by their own Terms of Service and this may also fall under Section 230. As to why they did it this way, I do not know, but suspect it was for a technical reason. Gaping hole, indeed. :/

  3. A few of my food posts have been reblogged despite my request on the site not to reblog and respect my wish. I’ve had a few nasty encounters when I sent a friendly reminder to rebloggers’ sites to please remove my post as the pics and content are copyrighted. I told my readers about these incidents, they all went to the rebloggers post and commented on their ‘stolen’ content (they must have just copy/pasted it to their blog but were dumb enough not to notice my post contained a link to another of my own posts so I would get a pingback…). However, the reblogger then just closed comments and told me to “sue me”…

    1. When bloggers use the word ‘please’ in their requests for others not to copy their content, I think some people view the word ‘please’ as indicating a request that can be acceded to or ignored.

    2. I am so sorry to hear that, Kiki. Sadly, we’re limited in what we can do as users, since we agreed to sharing, and abusing people’s goodwill seems to be the norm these days. I’ve mentioned some of our options in my post, remove the Reblog button, change site Visibility to Hidden or Private to keep our content out of the Reader, but that’s not practical for everyone.

    1. Hi Teri, I did mention a couple of things in my post and also now again in my reply to Kiki. One other thing to consider, post images that are less than 350 pixels wide. That is supposed to keep them out of the Reader, but also is not very practical if your site is a photography site! I’ll need to test to see if smaller images won’t be uploaded to the reblogger’s site if your post is Reblogged. If the Reblog button is enabled on your site, you’ll want to remove it.

  4. So, from taking with Automattic, I confirmed that the Share option (I don’t have the Reblog option ‘on’) will share either the ‘featured’ photo, or, if there is no feature photo (I never use the option), it will grab the first photo.

    My plan (if it continues to happen) is to have a small photo (a screen capture, actually) of a statement saying I don’t give my permission to share my photos as the first thing in each post. The first paragraph will say the same thing.

    It’s a poor substitute to Automattic respecting its users, and it won’t keep anyone from stealing photos who’s really intent on it, but it’s something (if it works . . . I think Automatic may already offer a way around it, but I’ve not tested it).

    Truthfully, I’ve not had much of a problem as I fly very low under the radar of most people, but having one of my favorite photos appear elsewhere was annoying.

  5. Thanks for this post, Jen, and for linking to the post I published by a guest blogger who was threatened with legal action after a reblog she did seven years ago!

    Am I right in thinking that WordPress is looking into removing the option for reblogging a post from the WP Reader? Some bloggers who don’t want their posts reblogged remove the reblog button from all their posts; it must be frustrating to have somebody then reblog a post from the WP Reader!

    Thank you for also reporting the problem with the Press This sharing button. I did the same about nine months ago, but it remains broken.

    1. Hello Hugh, thank you for prodding me* to spend time retesting our sharing options! That was a “just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water” moment. :/

      There is indeed a long-standing, no timeline specified, feature request open on github by a member of the WordPress.com forum staff to remove the Sharing button from the Reader when the Reblog button doesn’t appear on the source website itself. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will eventually happen, but holding my breath, I am not.

      Thank you for reporting it as well, but the PressThis sharing button is just not getting any dev love. I finally removed it from my sites. No point adding more friction.

      (*edited to correct my English, which sometimes slips.)

      1. Hi Jen, when I informed the problem of the Press This sharing button to WordPress, the engineer I spoke with advised me not to remove the button because he said the problem was only affecting some blogs. Hence, I kept it on mine. Now I’m wondering if he was right, or if it’s broken for everyone? I’ll ask some of my followers to test it out on my blog and see what they come up with. I’ll let you know.

      2. Thanks for following up with your followers. Regardless, I just tested on your site using Firefox. After clicking the button, the pop-up editor window only displays the title and no other content, even if I highlight it before clicking the button. I’ve also tried on the official WordPress.com News blog as well as WordPress.com GO. No difference. I’ll check some other sites/browsers, too.

      3. I can now say that the PressThis sharing button does not work in the latest versions of these browsers: Firefox, Brave and MSEdge. In all cases, only the title appeared in the pop-up editor window. I was also delighted to find that many of the sites I visited to test this on did not have either the PressThis sharing button or Reblog button enabled.

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