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Facebook Data Download Feature

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Facebook announced the launch of a new feature called “Download Your Information”. The feature is fairly self-explanatory: hit a button, and Facebook will compile an archive of all the data you’ve ever uploaded to the site — photos, videos, messages, and more

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Facebook Data Download Feature

  1. 1. Facebook Download Your Information Feature Facebook announced the launch of a new feature called “Download Your Information”. The feature is fairly self-explanatory: hit a button, and Facebook will compile an archive of all the data you’ve ever uploaded to the site — photos, videos, messages, and more — which you can download in a handy Zip file for archival purposes. Given how much content people are storing on Facebook these days this is great news, but it’s got one catch: your archive will be missing anything that appeared on your Facebook Wall prior to mid-2006. Facebook feature that lets users download a copy of their profile and content, and now it’s becoming available for some users. Until now there hasn’t been a way to download info off of Facebook, but at today’s Facebook event in Palo Alto, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a feature that allows users to port their data from Facebook in a .zip file, “People own and have control over all info they put into Facebook and “Download Your Information” enables people to take stuff with them,” says Zuckerberg. “Download Your Information” is groundbreaking as the premise behind the Diaspora Project is that it is the “open” portable Facebook. As of today it seems like Facebook is the “open” portable Facebook, as the company now feels secure enough to let users leave with info intact. Facebook Product Manager David Recordon explains that you can access the “Download Your Information” feature from your account settings, hit the download button (see above) and Facebook will
  2. 2. allow you to download everything off your profile, including your friends list, events, all of your messages, wall posts and all of your photos into a zip file. Downloading your profile in this way does not delete it from the site, but simply provides you with a copy. Users wishing to erase their data entirely will have to go through the process of deleting their entire Facebook profile, separately from “Download Your Information.” Recordon emphasizes that the product will be simple enough for laymen to use, a one click process. More importantly, when asked during the Q&A whether a Facebook user could ostensibly download their information and then reupload it to a site other than Facebook, Zuckerberg answered: “At a high level we’ve built two different things, Facebook Connect — which is our real effort to bring our sites to other sites, and “Download Your Information” where you can download your information and upload it to another site. Stuff that you put into the site, you should be able to take out.” “Download Your Information” should be rolling out to all users beginning today.
  3. 3. In a downloadable zip file, users get html files which include their entire profile, wall, Event history, messages, Notes, a list of their friends, . jpg of their photos, and .mp4s of their videos, as well as an index file for navigating the content. The data can be used as a diary, or to replace other information from a hard drive crash or stolen computer — but not necessarily to switch to a different social network.
  4. 4. To access the Download Your Information feature, go to Account->Account Settings->Download Your Information and click “learn more”. Users are then shown a description of what their download will include, a security warning, and a privacy warning stating that the file will contain sensitive information and that users should “take precautions when storing, sending or uploading it to any other services.” 1
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  7. 7. Once users click “Download”,the button will change to read “Pending” and users are informed that they will receive a download link via email. For users with a lot of content, the wait can be several hours. 4
  8. 8. Users will eventually receive a “Your download is ready” email from Facebook containing a link back to the Download Your Information page. OR Users are prompted to re-enter their password and possibly complete other security tests before being allowed to initiate the download of the zip file. 5
  9. 9. Download Your “Information Zip” File Contents, which comes from a “bigzipfiles.facebook.com” URL with name “Facebook-(Username/ID).zip” 6
  10. 10. Once downloaded, unzipped and opened, users will see folders of HTML files, photos, videos, a README.txt stating when the file was downloaded and by who (this info is appended to the bottom of each html page), and an index.html file. Inside the folders are the following parts of a user’s profile, which can be opened separately or navigated through the index: Profile A complete read-out of a user’s profile including basic information, Facebook profile URL, contact information, profile picture, relationships, education and work info, Likes and interests, and Groups (including secret Groups) of which the user is a member. 7
  11. 11. Wall A reverse chronological read-out of all wall posts and content uploaded by the user or their friends to the user’s profile, including status updates. Links are active and show the thumbnail and blurb of sites, but embedded content such as YouTube videos or mp3s will appear as external links. Photos and videos posted to the wall, including content the user is tagged in, link locally to the downloaded folders containing that content. Users can see Likes and comments to any wall post.
  12. 12. Friends A text-only list of all of a user’s current friends, sorted alphabetically by first names. Names are not linked and contain no additional information, such as email addresses or phone numbers. Only a user’s current friends appear.
  13. 13. Photos Separate html files for each of a user’s photo albums, with profile pictures and photos a user is tagged in compiled into a “Profile Pictures” album. Each photo displays its caption, associated tags, and comments, but not Likes. Each photo in the album links locally to the corresponding downloaded photo.

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