Facebook has introduced a ‘Link History’ setting in its mobile app that keeps track of all the websites you’ve visited on the platform in the last 30 days. The setting, now available in the Facebook app on both iOS and Android, is optional but turned on by default. Facebook users are getting an in-app pop-up that informs them about the link history feature and gives them an opportunity to toggle the setting. While Facebook paints Link History as a useful and convenient bank of all the recent links you’ve clicked, of course, in true meta fashion, there’s a catch.
According to the Facebook support page, the link history toggle is rolling out to its mobile app. Available on the Facebook app on iOS and Android, the feature is gradually being rolled out globally. As mentioned earlier, when enabled, the link history setting stores a list of websites a user has visited in the Facebook mobile browser in the last 30 days.
Facebook also notes that the setting does not include links seen in chats on Messenger. “You can turn link history on or off at any time. When Link History is turned on, any links you tap inside Facebook and visit in Facebook’s mobile browser will be stored here for 30 days,” the support page explains.
Some users are reported to have started getting a pop-up for the link history setting while accessing the Facebook app. According to a report by Gizmodo, the feature is pitched as a nifty tool to save all your links. The in-app prompt reads ‘Never lose a link again’ and adds “Easily retrieve recent links with your Facebook browsing activity now saved in one place.”
However, there is also a privacy concern in the mix. In both the link history toggle and its support page for in-app pop-ups, Facebook clarifies that it may use your list of saved links to send you targeted ads across its platforms and technologies. “Note that when link history is turned on, we may use link history information from Facebook’s mobile browser to improve your ads across meta technologies,” the support page says. This effectively turns your link history into an all-in-one interest board for Facebook to use to send targeted ads to users.
To turn link history on or off in the Facebook mobile app, open any link inside the app to launch the Facebook mobile browser. Then, tap the three-dot menu at the bottom right and select Browser Settings. To turn the setting off or on, press the toggle and confirm your choice. Meta says that when the setting is turned off, it will immediately clear your link history and that it will not use your browsing activity to “improve your ads” across its platform. But it also mentions that it may take up to 90 days to completely delete your list of links.
Meta already offers the link history feature in the Instagram app on mobile phones. The setting can be accessed in your activity option in the menu. Last month, Facebook said that one-on-one chats and calls in the Messenger app will be protected by end-to-end encryption by default.