The data you post on Facebook is yours. You’re entitled to keep a copy of it for your reference. As an experiment, I was curious what and how much data I have on Facebook. Just in case I wanted to shut down my account, I wanted to keep a backup copy.
To download your data, go to Account and select Account Settings.
Under the settings tab, click on learn more in the Download Your Information section.
Facebook then gives you a long warning about what you’re about to do. This will download a lot of your information including posts, photos, and comments. For some people, it’s is a potential security risk. This data should be stored somewhere safe. Who knows what we have been posting over the years. Imagine when this data is subpoenaed. How much potential incriminating data could be stored. A very scary thought.
Click the green Download button when you’re done reading the warning.
Facebook will then have another warning. It’ll take a lot of heavy lifting on Facebook’s side to compile all the data. Click the green Download button when you’re done reading this warning again.
When you click the green download button, this message will appear.
According to Facebook, here is what is included in the file:
- Your profile information (e.g., your contact information, interests, groups)
- Wall posts and content that you and your friends have posted to your profile
- Photos and videos that you have uploaded to your account
- Your friend list
- Notes you have created
- Events to which you have RSVP’d
- Your sent and received messages
- Any comments that you and your friends have made on your Wall posts, photos, and other profile content
It took approximately 30 minutes for Facebook to process and package my data. I never received the email notification but was able to download the file by following the above steps. The file was 40MB for me, zipped. It contained an index file that neatly links all my photos, friends, notes, etc. It was very scary to scroll down and see notes and posts going back to 2005.