Over the past several days, I updated Facebook on my phone. One of the biggest changes — yet one that I heard little about beforehand — is that Facebook now opens links in the app rather than in your browser. I suspect the idea behind this is to protect users from malicious files and perhaps even scams. However, it also prevents us from using all the features we expect in a modern browser.
This includes private browsing mode and all the options available with a long-click, such as opening a link in a new tab. Although you can readily share any link back to a Facebook post or even a message, opening a link in the app “browser” doesn’t work with a smartphone’s native sharing menu, so sending via text, Bluetooth or email takes a few more clicks.
Plus, links to the Google Play store and YouTube ignore the default settings in my phone. Thanks, Facebook! You can “Save” things to Facebook, but it would be much nicer to access our favorites, especially if you sync browser data across multiple devices.
Perhaps what frustrates me the most is that you’re not able to browse history. I don’t even use favorites all that much because I use the browser on my phone — and tablet — for casual surfing. This morning, I clicked a link in Facebook, wanted to visit it later and promptly lost it because I didn’t “Save” it and there’s no history or any way to return to pages viewed in the internal browser. Arrgh!
Fortunately, you can disable this “feature,” and it’s not difficult. In your App Settings for Facebook, you’ll see an option to open links in an “External” browser. That is, Safari, Firefox, Chrome or whatever browser you prefer on your smartphone or tablet.
I’d love to remove this feature entirely. I’m sure it’s using up precious space on my phone, and it’sÂ definitelyÂ causing lag!