Facebook is restricting users from opening URL links in third-party browsers. The company has removed this option from the latest version of its popular social media app for Android. Many users have reported that links from the app no longer open in their default browser. Instead, they open in Facebook’s in-app browser.
Earlier, users could set Facebook to always open links in their default third-party browser. A “Links open externally” toggle was available under Settings > Media and contacts. This feature was off by default but you could always turn it on.
However, this option no longer exists in the latest version of the Facebook app for Android. According to XDA, it has been disappearing for users since at least a few months ago, though Facebook’s official support page still says it’s there. That’s probably because the feature is still available for some users. The company will likely update the said support page to reflect the change once it has been rolled out to all Facebook users globally.
There’s seemingly no way to bypass this change, at least not as of now. However, once the link is opened in Facebook’s in-app browser, you can tap the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner and select the “Open in browser” option to open it in your default third-party browser. Just that you can no longer have this ability by default. You have to manually follow the steps above to open links from Facebook in third-party browsers every single time.
Facebook removes the option to open links in third-party browsers
It’s unclear why Facebook has removed this handy feature from its app. However, XDA speculates this change might have something to do with Google’s plans of phasing out third-party cookies from its Chrome browser. The company is developing a new privacy-focused web technology called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) to replace third-party cookies.
FLoC will prevent companies from tracking your online activities individually by creating large groups of people with similar interests. This will allow companies to continue serving you tailored ads based on your interests. However, they will not be able to identify you individually but as a group only.
By restricting users from opening links in third-party browsers such as Google Chrome, Facebook seems to be preparing itself for this upcoming change. The company wants to keep users on its platform as much as possible, so it can serve more tailored ads to them. This change should hit more Facebook users over the next few weeks.