In Facebook’s revamped security and privacy settings, I noticed that you can now download a copy of your Facebook data since the first day you signed up your account; much like Google’s Data Liberation feature. Here’s how to download your own:
- Log in to your Facebook account.
- Click Account | Account Settings.
- Click Download a copy of your Facebook data located under your Account Settings
- Click the Start My Archive button.
- A popup panel appears. Confirm by clicking the Start My Archive button. This initiates the archiving operation on your Facebook account.
- An email will arrive in a couple of hours after your request. Click the download link provided and enter your password to get a copy of your Facebook data.
Facebook reminds its users to keep their respective archives as it contains sensitive information.
So what are the things that are included in your archive? According to Facebook what’s included in your archive are:
- Any photos or videos you’ve shared on Facebook
- Your Wall posts, messages and chat conversations
- Your friends’ names and some of their email addresses (Email addresses that are made public by the respective users only)
What’s not included in your archive are
Your friends’ photos and status updates
Other people’s personal info
Comments you’ve made on other people’s posts
Apart from these I also observed that the archive does not include posts, photos and messages that had been deleted. Does this mean that Facebook don’t keep copies of deleted information? I can’t tell for sure that this feature guarantees it but this definitely is a right move for Facebook for giving back to its users their right to their own information.
I tried downloading mine and like what the confirmation message says, it takes time to aggregate the data. Perhaps the more activity you invested on Facebook the longer it takes to create the archive. I received mine about a day after my request. What I got was a compressed (ZIP) file containing a readme file, an index, and two directories for photos and other html files. By opening index.html, it shows you some sort of a stripped down version of your Facebook profile. Here is a screenshot of what mine looks like:
I took some time reading my earliest posts and I felt a bit nostalgic… and old haha. I myself hate keeping a journal but with this feature, Facebook to me has been one that I never intended to be written.