Facebook's Link History Arrives On Android And iOS: What It Does And How To Turn It Off

Mark Zuckerberg
No one likes to lose things, so Facebook's new "Link History" sounds okay at first. It's a new feature rolling out to the Android and iOS mobile apps that promises to keep a list of the links you've recently visited from Facebook. Is this a rare instance of benevolence from Mark Zuckerberg? Nope, Link History might sound potentially useful, but it's really just there to target ads.

According to Meta, Link History keeps a running list of Facebook links you've clicked for the past 30 days. You could conceivably pop over to the list and find a link you looked at recently, which could be convenient in some cases. However, each of those URLs will be fed into the Meta advertising machine to serve you more targeted ads. That's something the company desperately wants to do as recent smartphone privacy enhancements could cost it billions

Technically, Meta has always tracked this data, so this could be seen as an improvement in some ways. Users are getting more control by having this feature exposed, but asking for permission to harvest this data years later under the guise of doing users a favor is shady, to say the least. Link History is also on by default and makes no mention of the ads. 

Facebook link ads
The Link History description falls a little short of honest.

This feature is rolling out slowly to users globally, so you might not see it on your device just yet. A confirmation page will appear in the app when it's live, giving you the chance to turn Link History off. However, the page makes it sound so useful! If you leave it enabled, you can dig into the settings later to change that.

To disable Link History in your Facebook app, open the settings and find the line for Link History. Hit the toggle, and you're done. Meta will delete your saved links and won't save any new ones, but it cautions that it could take 90 days for all the link data to be deleted. The presentation of Link History might be misleading, but you can improve your privacy now that you have the option to disable this type of data collection. Thanks, Zuck?