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How to download your facebook data

How to Download your Facebook Data

Since the advent of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), the treatment of personal data has become a big deal in business administration. Huge fines can be imposed on companies who don’t comply, and the rules and expectations can be tough on small businesses.

It is not all bad for regular people! Pre-GDPR getting hold of information a company has on you used to be a mission to extract from some businesses, assuming you could get it from them at all! Some also charged a hefty fee. Now, if you want to request a copy of your own personal data from any business you have given any of your information to, they have one month to hand it over to you. You can read about your right to access your info here. This is called a DSAR (data subject access request) and, in most cases, must be provided free of charge. What’s not to like?!

Why would I want my Facebook data?

Jack – born 28 September 2013

I could not remember my cat’s birthday! I knew Jack was born somewhere near the end of September 2013, but I could not recall the date. His pet insurance wanted it and every September I found myself trying to recall the date. I was his midwife after all!

Have you ever wondered when a certain event happened? Scrolling through your Facebook timeline is an exercise in patience!

But with your post history, you can easily search the page for details, it’s an index for your entire Facebook history in an easy-search format! Now that’s cool!

I discovered that my big fluffy boy’s birthday is 28 September 2013. Thank you, Facebook!

How to request your Facebook data

Facebook has a really cool system. They give you the option to download specific sections of your data and you get a surprisingly long tick-list of features, to let them know precisely what you want.

To select the data that you want to have sent to you, click the hamburger menu to navigate to Facebook settings. The next few screenshots are for Facebook Mobile.

To navigate to the download option is a little different on Facebook Desktop, I show those screenshots below, under Downloading Data from Facebook Desktop.

How to request your facebook data

Click ‘settings’ then scroll all the way down, the section you are looking for is under the ‘Your information‘ section, called ‘Download your information‘. This is where you will see the long list of tick boxes. The screenshots below are shown from a mobile.

Downloading Data from Facebook Mobile

Download your Facebook data step 1
Download your Facebook data step 2
Scroll down, it’s at the bottom

By default, all the options are selected. Do you only want your photos, your messages or your Page info? No problem, you can deselect all and tick only the sections you want. The section with the tickboxes has two tabs: Request copy and Available copies.

Download your Facebook data step 3
Download your Facebook data step 4

Once you’ve finished ticking all the boxes, there is another section for you to decide the date range, the format and the quality you prefer too.

Once your information is ready for you to download, you will be sent an email with the subject “Facebook information file requested” with a link to download your data. You can also head back over to this section to download it again, where it is kept for a month. You will see them under the ‘Available copies’ tab. No worries if it expires, you can request it again any time you like.

Download your Facebook data step 5
Download your Facebook data step 6

Downloading Data from Facebook Desktop

If you are using a PC to download our Facebook data, the steps are a little different. From the little dropdown arrow on the top right of your screen, select ‘Settings & Privacy’. The setting menu will open vertically on the left of your screen. The third option is the one you are looking for ‘Your Facebook Information’. Click that and you’ll see some more options, one of which is to ‘Download your information’, which will then take you to the tickbox options.

Facebook Adverts

One section I find particularly interesting is the Ads. Since Facebook’s entire purpose is to tempt you with adverts, and their advertisers expect detailed analytics, this section is very detailed and shows some fascinating history. Not only do you see a list of what Facebook thinks you are interested in – some of these had me scratching my head – but also a list of everything you’ve clicked on – to be fair, some of those also had me scratching my head! Did I click on that? I really don’t remember but wouldn’t put my head on a block!

Check your Facebook security settings

I never use Facebook or my email to log into websites, one exposure and all your accounts are vulnerable. Instead, I use a password manager like Lastpass, to create strong, unique passwords for every site. Bear in mind you may be careful but your due diligence won’t necessarily protect you if your friends aren’t security conscious too.

Check your security settings and tighten up what information you are happy to share and opt-out of that which you are not. Seriously, if you have not carefully scrutinised the security settings in Facebook and diligently ticked an unticked boxes you agree, or don’t agree, with you really should not post or click another thing until you’ve done that first!

In the next blog, I will show you How to Control your News Feed like a true Facebook Super-User. Including blocking apps from posting to your news feed.

Digitally Done, giving you back a little bit of control!

Heading photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash