Facebook's new Link History feature remembers which memes you clicked and stories you read even if you can't — and you can opt out if you'd rather not

Facebook app icon
(Image credit: Pexals / Pixabay)

Facebook has long been the go-to source of news and other content for hundreds of millions of people around the globe. Whether or not that is wise is a matter for another conversation, but there is no denying that Facebook is a huge player in terms of how people find the content that they consume. But because any link you click in the Facebook app on your iPhone opens the page inside the app itself, it's easy to lose track of what you've read and which memes you've seen. Now, it appears that Meta has identified that and sought to find a solution.

That solution is a new Link History feature that promises to make it easier for people to find anything and everything that they saw previously, making it easier to resurface that content at a later date. Meta will no doubt hope that people will be able to more easily share that content on its platforms, but from the point of view of individuals this new feature is a real boon — especially for those of us with poor memories.

The feature is rolling out to Meta's Facebook mobile app right now and is turned on by default. Thankfully, Meta does allow people to disable the feature if they want to which could be useful depending on the links you click. It's also important to note exactly why Meta wants to keep tabs on this information — so it can use it to better target ads.

The new Link History feature was detailed in a new Facebook help page that also points out that the feature may not be available in all locations. There's no publicly available list of exactly which locations have access to Link History, but the same help page does note that the "feature is being introduced globally over time," so don't worry too much if you don't see it just yet.

Facebook says that its Link History feature will collect the websites that a user has visited via the Facebook Mobile Browser over the last 30 days — after those 30 days have elapsed, the history will no longer be available. Interestingly, Facebook also notes that it may take it up to three times as long — or 90 days — to delete its data if you decide to disable Link History. That might suggest that even once the 30 days have been and gone, Meta will still have your links somewhere.

As hinted earlier, all of this is designed to give Meta more insight into what people are doing within its app. "Bear in mind that when link history is on, we may use link history information from Facebook's Mobile Browser to improve your ads across Meta technologies," Facebook's help page reads.

Thankfully, disabling Link History is a relatively simple process if you want to go down that route. You'll first need to open a link within the Facebook app and then tap the '...' button before choosing Browser Settings. From here, the Allow link history feature can be enabled or disabled at will.

Given Meta and Facebook's checkered history with user privacy and the way it collects information on its users, you might want to consider flicking that switch. But for those of us with failing memories, it might still be worth keeping around. It might also be worth a quick read through Facebook's Privacy Policy as well.

More from iMore

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.