Facebook has launched a new feature that will allow the popular social media platform to track even more of your online activity, and we can help you turn it off.
It's no secret that social media platforms like Facebook track your activity online. As the old saying goes, when a service is free, you're the product, with your personal data being divvied out to advertisers around the world.
Now, Meta plans to make that data even more valuable with its Link History feature designed to keep track of your clicked on links during your Facebook experience.
Facebook Launches Link History Feature
Announced this week and rolling out to devices now, the Link History feature in Facebook will effectively act as a history page, keeping track of all the links you've clicked on while using the social media app on your smartphone.
“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 help site
For users, this can be a pretty helpful tool, allowing you to access your previously clicked on links on a single page. However, from a tracking standpoint, it's just another data point that Facebook can pass along to third-party companies for targeted ads.
How Does the Link History Track Your Activity?
If the Link History feature was nothing more than a basic history page, that would be great. Users could easily access previously opened websites, making it easy to revisit content and share information with other users.
As is often the case with Facebook and other social media platforms, though, that's not the case. The Link History feature descriptions adds an important disclaimer when you decide to opt in that should set off alarm bells if you're at all concerned about data tracking:
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“When you allow link history, we may use your information to improve your ads across Meta technologies.”
Even worse, this feature doesn't just track which websites you click on. Link history will allow Meta to track your activity on sites you visit through Facebook, including what you're clicking on and how you're behaving.
Obviously, Facebook has a bit of a checkered past when it comes to third-party data tracking, considering the Cambridge Analytica scandal several years ago. Still, if you can handle targeted ads, this kind of feature could improve your experience, as long as you don't mind the invasion of privacy.
How to Turn Off Link History in Facebook
If the new link history feature in Facebook rubs you the wrong way, we don't blame you. Fortunately, it's relatively easy to turn off the feature, keeping your data a bit more secure and foregoing the ability to keep track of your clicked on links in Facebook.
Here's how to turn off the link history feature in the Facebook mobile app:
- Click on any link in your Facebook feed
- Tap the three-dot menu in the upper right hand corner of the Facebook browser
- Scroll down to Go to settings
- Toggle the Allow link history button to off
- Click Don't allow in the pop-up menu
Once you've followed the steps above, you're all set! Not only will Facebook stop tracking your link clicks, it will also erase previous tracking efforts and stop using that data to inform on your targeted ads.