Facebook recently got a link history feature on its mobile app for Android and iPhone. This lets you view a list of websites you’ve visited on Facebook’s in-app browser for the past 30 days.
You can choose to turn link history on or off at any time. When link history is on, any links that you’ve tapped inside of Facebook and visited in Facebook’s Mobile Browser will be saved here for 30 days.
Facebook’s link history: Friend or Foe of your web wandering?
Facebook’s framing of link history as a helpful service for remembering links versus another tracking method is a classic case of spin. While the convenience of finding forgotten links is certainly a potential benefit, it’s crucial to critically examine the trade-off in terms of privacy and data collection.
The admission that links history information will be used “to improve your ads across Meta technologies” reveals the true purpose behind the feature. It’s about building a richer profile of your interests and online behavior to serve you more targeted ads, not simply helping you find lost links.
While Facebook offers the option to turn link history off, the framing still puts the onus on users to protect their privacy rather than placing the responsibility on the company itself. The default setting should be opt-out, not opt-in, for sensitive data collection practices.
Should we use the link history feature?
Ultimately, the decision of whether to use link history is a personal one. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential downsides and make an informed choice based on your comfort level with data sharing and targeted advertising.