Facebook Introduces ‘Link History’ for Data Tracking, Raises Privacy Concerns

Facebook has recently launched ‘Link History,’ a new default setting in its mobile app to track users’ clicked links, primarily aimed at serving targeted ads.

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While Facebook users have the option to opt-out of Link History, Gizmodo points out it is essentially another data tracking method.

Facebook persuades users with promises like “never lose a link again” and hints at using this data to enhance ad experiences. The company assures the deletion of users’ Link History within 90 days if the setting is turned off.

However, questions are being raised about the transparency and effectiveness of this setting. It marks the first time users have gained insight into Facebook’s link tracking, yet it doesn’t address the comprehensive monitoring methods utilized.

Meta says Link History captures only the act of clicking a link within Facebook’s app, concealing its broader monitoring practices on websites visited via its in-app browser.

Furthermore, it appears to solely impact Facebook’s app, leaving Meta’s other platforms untouched, thereby maintaining its data collection practices across its ecosystem.

But at the same time, the setting introduces confusion by offering limited protection if users access Facebook through browsers or computers, excluding Link History accessibility.

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Meta deploys unrelated tracking methods like the ‘Meta Pixel’ on various websites to monitor user activities outside its platforms, influencing targeted advertising despite user account status.

Facebook offers some control mechanisms like ‘Off-Facebook Activity’ and a ‘Clear History’ tool, yet their effectiveness and functionality are ambiguous.

To turn off your link history in Facebook iOS app, follow these steps:

  1. Tap any link inside the Facebook app to open Facebook’s Mobile Browser.
  2. Tap more actions in the bottom right, then tap Go to Settings.
  3. To turn link history off, tap switch on next to Allow link history, then tap Don’t allow to confirm.

When you turn link history off, it may take Meta up to 90 days to complete the deletion process.

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