Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Nov 13

Facebook App’s New Internal Browser Sucks!

Facebook's App Settings for external browser

Facebook’s App Settings for external browser

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’s definitely causing lag!

8 comments on “Facebook App’s New Internal Browser Sucks!”

  1. J

    I actually never realized that Facebook did that until now. I think I noticed it before but I just didn’t pay attention.

    I use Google Chrome as my phone’s browser (as well as on my computer) but I am given the option to “Open in Google Chrome”. So, that particular feature wouldn’t be a huge deal for me. It’s good to know you can change that setting for those who would need to though.

    One of the issues I’ve had with the changes of Facebook is the changes to the privacy settings and the way people can search for you. I would much prefer my page to be by invitation only (people I know in real life) but unfortunately if there is a mutual friend in common, then a person now has to ability to search for you and there is no option to allow messaging to “friends only”.

    On Youtube there’s a whole load of “Facebook Hacks”, if you search for it, that you could probably work your way around alot of the restrictions.

  2. If you’re given the option, then you must have it turned off. When it’s on, there are no options! I long-press to open links in a background tab all the time, so it became apparent pretty quick!

  3. I used to have the Always open links with external browser set to off, which meant that if someone on facebook shared a thumbnail youtube video it would open withing the facebook browser app, but I found that when the youtube video played it would pop and jitter in places, in other words it wouldn’t play smoothly. Just switching the option from off to on didn’t make any difference, but here is how I fixed the issue, I opened up Facebook by Google Chrome instead of the app, signed in, and I changed the setting to ON from there, went back to the Facebook App, and this time when I hit on the youtube thumbnail it then gave me the option to either open in Google Chrome or the Youtube App, and since doing this and setting it to always open in the youtube app the videos now play in Youtube App without an issue.

    Hope this may be of help to those who have experienced a similar issue on Android.

    So I agree with this thread, Facebook Internal browser does indeed suck, however I disagree with Cole when it’s mentioned that you must have it turned off, I have it turned on and I do get options.

  4. I think I would have been far less annoyed by this had I ever been given the option. After several Facebook app updates, I still don’t have the option when it’s on. When I say options, I mean the Android option to open it in any of my installed browsers, not just the option in the menu (which may not have existed before). It may be the difference between Android versions or even phones, but it’s super annoying!

  5. Have you tried changing settings on your Facebook account via a computer? if not give it a go and tell me if it works or changes anything.

  6. The settings change but it just goes from using my default browser to using Facebook internal browser without any other notification. Many people wouldn’t even notice to be honest LOL

  7. Hi all I have a similar problem. I don’t have “Always open links with external browser” option in my Android App and I really don’t know why! I prefer the external browser but I want to know why I have not this option… I formatted my Device 4 days ago and before internal browser worked! After reset, I re-installed my FB apps and I can use only an external browser to open links… and no “Always open links with external browser”. I tried to install the app on another phone and nothing, option not avaliable… What can I do to use the internal browser?

  8. Is your Facebook app up to date? If it switched to an older version hen you formatted, it might not have the internal browser built in. Otherwise, I’m not sure what to tell you.

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