Why can't I click back to the website I was just on?
December 9, 2012 3:59 AM   Subscribe

Why do Facebook & Google prevent me from clicking backwards to see the website I just viewed?

I use IE9. Starting about 9 months ago I've found the back button has become increasingly useless. It just boomerangs me back to the website I'm on. Then, when I right-click on the back button to get my recent history, I see there are one or more google or facebook junk urls between the site I was on and the site I'm now on. I have to click on the correct url from among them, plucking a rose from the thorns. to get back to where I just was.

What gives? If I switch to Firefox or Chrome, will I no longer have this minor but constant irritant?
posted by mono blanco to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Can't speak for Facebook, but I did start noticing this last month on Youtube (Chrome, Linux fwiw). I assumed it was for advertising/page views, but didn't give it much thought since double clicking the back button seems to work.
posted by mannequito at 4:02 AM on December 9, 2012

It does not happen to me with Chrome for Facebook and Google. Just try Chrome.

In general this does happen with several redirects, but neither Google nor Facebook should use those. So maybe you've installed a browser plugin or toolbar that creates this?
posted by oxit at 4:12 AM on December 9, 2012

I think this may be the same redirection issue as covered in this recent thread:
posted by Lanark at 4:27 AM on December 9, 2012

Facebook does use url wrapping/mangling (as does Google, as per the previous post). It's mostly just so they can track you (ugh). If you switch to Firefox or Chrome and use an extension (such as Redirect Remover for Firefox, or this post for Chrome) you can get rid of this. Personally I would recommend switching away from IE regardless, but that's just me...
posted by anaelith at 5:35 AM on December 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Double clicking on the back button will send you one page back when single clicking doesn't work.
posted by entropyiswinning at 10:26 AM on December 9, 2012

Best answer: Short answer, they do it to track what you've clicked, plain and simple. That, unfortunately, breaks the normal behavior of the back button.

entropyiswinning gave one easy solution. You can also either right-click the back button or hover (or if it has a drop-down arrow on one side, click that) to chose from the past few pages in your history - Just skip back two instead of one to deal with mangled URL redirections.

Personally, I'd suggest using a plugin such as anaelith recommends, as that both fixes the problem and provides just one more small way you can help protect your privacy online.
posted by pla at 11:12 AM on December 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

I used tabbed browsing so much that this doesn't bother me. In fact what bothers me is when I'm prevented from opening a new tab.
posted by dhartung at 11:36 AM on December 9, 2012

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