Facebook expands user access to downloadable data

April 12, 2012

Data liberation is an issue that comes up a lot in discussions about privacy. Facebook, which has provided a tool for users to download some of their information since 2010, announced it was expanding that archive of information.

Starting Thursday, the company will allow users to see more information such as friend requests you’ve made and IP addresses you’ve used to log into the network.

“The feature will be rolling out gradually to all users and more categories of information will be available for download in the future,” the company said on its privacy blog.

Despite the expansion of data, as SlashGear noted, some privacy advocates would still like to see Facebook release more information to users. The Australia-based group “Europe vs. Facebook” said that the social network only releases a “fraction” of the data it keeps on users, and complained that consumers will have to “hunt” for more of their data through their Timeline and activity logs.

In addition to the changes Facebook announced Thursday — which are rolling out across its user base — Facebook users can download photos and videos, wall posts, messages, chats, and the names and occasional e-mail address from friends. Users can download their information from the site by heading to their Facebook Account Settings. At the bottom of the settings page, there is a link that says “Download a copy of your Facebook data.” Click the green “Start My Archive” button and wait. The information will will not post comments you have made on others’ profiles, the photos and status updates of your friends or any other user’s personal information.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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