Everything You Need to Know About Facebook Link History

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Facebook Link History

I. Introduction

What is Facebook Link History?

Facebook Link History is a new tool introduced by the platform to track all the links and websites that users access through Facebook. This allows Facebook to build extensive browsing histories of users for targeted advertising purposes. 

How Does Link History Work?

When a user clicks on a link shared on Facebook or Instagram, the page loads inside a custom in-app browser instead of the device's default browser. Facebook injects special JavaScript code onto these pages to monitor everything the user types or clicks, including passwords. This data is collected and stored in each user's Link History for building profiles.

Facebook Link History

II. Benefits and Criticisms 

Benefits Claimed by Facebook

Facebook claims Link History is a useful feature for users to never lose track of links they've accessed. It also says this data helps improve ads and that users have control over the use of their data.

Privacy and Surveillance Concerns

However, many argue Link History is really about increasing Facebook's surveillance capabilities. By default, users' browsing data outside of Facebook is also collected without clear consent. Critics say it undermines user privacy and control over personal data.

III. How to Access Link History

Viewing Your Own Link History

To view links you've accessed through Facebook, update the app and go to Settings > Your Facebook Information > Linked Websites. Here you can see all external domains the app tracked you visiting.

IV. Disable or Delete Link History

Stopping Facebook from Collecting Your Browsing Data

If you want to disable Link History and opt-out of Facebook tracking browsing activity:

- Go to Settings > App settings > Browser > turn off "Link history

- You can also delete your entire browser history on this page

- Facebook says it will delete your data after 90 days if disabling

However, some argue this may not actually stop Facebook from collecting data through other means. True consent and control remains limited for users.

V. Impact on Privacy and Advertising

Implications for User Privacy and Facebook's Business Model

With Link History and its "Off-Facebook Activity" tool, Facebook gains invaluable insights into users' interests and behaviors across the internet. While useful for targeted ads, this also allows pervasive surveillance challenging basic privacy expectations. Facebook and other platforms now rely on extensive data collection as their primary revenue source.

Apple's "App Tracking Transparency" update aimed to restrict this model, severely impacting Facebook. Though Google plans to deprecate third party cookies, alternative tracking mechanisms ensure companies can still follow users. Overall online tracking remains a complex issue with no simple solutions.

FAQs About Link History

Who can see my Link History?

Only you can access your individual Link History. Facebook uses the aggregate browsing data of all users for profiling and advertising.

Is Link History active by default?

Yes, Link History tracking is automatically turned on for all users unless disabled individually in settings. Facebook gains insights even from those who are unaware. 

Does disabling Link History stop all tracking?

While disabling limits Link History specifically, Facebook can still potentially collect browsing data through other means. True informed consent and control over personal data usage remains limited for users.

How long does Facebook store Link History?

Facebook says it will delete Link History data within 90 days for users who disable the feature. However, there is no way for users to independently verify what data is retained and for how long after disabling.


In summary, Facebook Link History represents both benefits and significant privacy challenges as the platform extends its data collection and profiling capabilities. While useful for personalization, the lack of clear, informed, verifiable consent gives rise to valid criticism around online tracking and surveillance. As personal data and digital advertising become increasingly intertwined, balancing user privacy with business interests remains an ongoing challenge shaping our digital experiences and societies. An open dialogue considering all perspectives is important moving forward.

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