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Facebook enabling in-app browser for links on some accounts

Facebook is rolling out a new feature in its app that many have offered for some time — an in-app browser — to speed up reading and sharing of links found within the social network. As is the case in many RSS readers and Twitter apps, Facebook's in-app browser will load the web page of a link you clicked within the Facebook app, rather than tossing you out to Chrome or another browser that you have installed on your phone.

The main benefit here is speed, because the lightweight in-app browser doesn't need to load any additional assets or launch a whole secondary app, but there are also other benefits. Facebook's browser gives you quick options to re-share the link into a new post of your own without backing out to the original post, saving you a step when you share. You'll also have the options to copy the link for sharing or opening the link in your browser of choice.

In a somewhat un-Facebook move there's also a setting in the app to turn off in-app browsing altogether, pushing all links to your favorite installed browser. That's a bonus.

The in-app browser seems to be rolling out to a seemingly random group of accounts (Facebook often does this), and doesn't seem to be tied to just the beta or stable versions of the Facebook app. You'll know if you have this new feature as soon as you tap a link within Facebook and aren't taken to an external browser — be on the lookout.

Thanks, Brian Z!

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • Been using it for a while, it is pretty good. Posted via Android Central App
  • Mine started doing this a few days ago. I immediately disabled it.
  • Why disable it? What wasn't great about it? Chrome gets bogged down with tabs and with no quit button it gets really annoying closing all of them so Chrome is about the worst browser.
  • If this appears to me, I will also disable it because I use Link Bubble
  • Some people just hate things because it's by Facebook. Let Google do the same thing and those people will praise the feature. Posted via Android Central App
  • Sounds like T-Mobile here in the U.S. lol
  • It's just a rubbish browser, it's slow and plenty of web sites don't work properly, I just noticed earlier that I also had it and am now disabling it.
  • Link Bubble FTW
  • Mine was enabled 2 days ago
    I Don't like it because it's completely opaque. Someone linked me to a gofundme campaign, and I was about to put my Cc details in, when I realised that not only could I not verify that the site even had an SSL certificate, I couldn't even positively identify whether I was actually at the web address I believed I was. This feature of showing the page title rather than URL is probably going to be great for phishing scams on Facebook.
  • I'd do the same--I want more control over my browser. I'd rather it kick out to Firefox.
  • Link Bubble Posted via the Android Central App
  • Link Bubble is good enough for me, too.
  • I use link bubble, but I like this feature better. It makes it feel like you have never left the app. Posted via Android Central App
  • Noticed this a few days ago. Didn't like it at first but it grew on me as I didn't have 20 Chrome tabs open for ever time I backed out to the app. Neat. Posted via Android Central App
  • I hate this behavior from mobile browsers. Why can't they just close all tabs upon exit?
  • Because occasionally we like to keep some pages open for future use. Posted via Android Central App
  • Home to leave tabs open, back to exit. Or a message to tap the back button twice to close everything, or a freakin' exit button. Something! Haha (I really don't like this haha).
  • You might have a look at Dolphin Browser. It offers you some options in this area.
  • theres a setting in chrome where if you backout of it it will close the last tab you viewed. Mine does that so if im going to chrome from a app and if i hit back that tab will auto close when i get back to the app.
  • that's how I've been using it. no issues with excess tabs in chrome. I prefer an external browser so I have better control of what I do while viewing that page. I don't mind if fb knows I went to a page, but I don't need it watching me while I'm there.
  • Noticed it a cpl weeks ago. Believe it or not it's pretty solid. Posted via the Android Central App
  • As long as there's an off switch I'm cool with that :)
  • Not a fan! Posted via Android Central App
  • Unless it gives the option to Save to Pocket, I will disable. It's one of the things I hated about the ios Facebook app. You had to open in the Facebook browser, open in Safari and then email it to Pocket if you wanted to read it later. Too many steps!
  • No, Facebook. No. This is the worst part about the iOS app. I like being able to do something useful with links once they open in Chrome. Posted via Android Central App
  • Finally. Posted via Android Central App
  • Kik did the same a couple of months ago. IMO it's a stupid feature. Fortunately you can disable it.
  • I don't understand why people don't like it. Usually while browsing on Facebook you just click the link and then you take a quick glance and then want to back out and this is exactly what it does. Its really nice. It is quick and easy and let's me not have to open chrome which I love but I don't like having a ton of tabs open.
  • Because a full featured browser has more features and is more useful?
    For example, Chrome saves everything in your history, so you can find it later on your PC...
    Or, you can force it to load the non-mobile version of the website.
    Or you can open links from a website in a new tab and quickly switch between them.
    I bet Facebook's builtin browser doesn't do any of this
  • Did anyone else get an update today? Now when I get notifications it shows a Facebook notification on my lockscreen! I'm running Android 4.3 on my note 2. They show just like if you where in Facebook! Posted via Android Central App
  • I actually like the in-app browsing. I noticed it by accident, and I think it's pretty cool.
  • I didn't like it, because double tapping didn't didn't zoom and wrap, like Chrome does. It just zoomed and forced me to have to scroll sideways. Posted via Android Central App
  • Like, old news. Posted via Android Central App
  • I disabled it pretty quickly. Oftentimes, I will scroll my feed and pick a few links that interest me as I go through. I like to open them, switch back to Facebook from Chrome, and continue on. Having them in Chrome allows me to view them on a different computer later if I want, which I often do. Not having them open in Facebook also allows me to reduce the amount of refresh in my Facebook news feed, which is annoying in and of itself.
  • yeah is pretty fast Posted via Android Central App
  • Don't mind the browser, much quicker than going into Chrome. Don't like the video playback. Much prefer the native YouTube app for that, but it is easy to move video there. Overall a good addition Posted via Android Central App
  • FACEBOOK is building AOL from the ground up......Walled Garden anyone??? LoL
  • I've also been using the facebook built in browser. It's great Posted via Android Central App
  • Been using it for about 3-4 weeks now .. pretty decent and nice.
  • I have it and yeah, it's nice and snappy and it works perfectly. For once, Facebook has done good. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have it in my Beta version but I disabled it! Posted via Android Central App
  • I disabled it after using it a few times. The save and share options in Chrome work better for me. Posted via Android Central App on my Droid Maxx
  • I normally can't stand in-app browsers because they're slow and junky. But if it really does make sharing links easier ad the article says then I'm willing to give it a try. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Does this mean Facebook can also put its own favoured adverts in place of the ones intended by the publisher.. (seems that way)
  • It was pretty neat! I actually liked it bec I could save a page do easily. All of a sudden it got removed, why??? Please bring it back.