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How to download your information from Facebook

While announcements on enhanced privacy settings and friendlier group structures have been getting all the headlines, Facebook also recently unveiled a new feature that could make all the difference to how you manage and monitor your account.

The new tool allows you to download a copy of everything you have ever sent to Facebook, including photos, videos, messages, posts on your wall, and any other content you may have shared. Once you have this information, you can often go back and modify or delete what you have previously posted. That won’t delete copies of photos or videos that other people have made or downloaded, but at least you will have a better handle on what’s out there.

Here’s how you do it:

1. Log in to your Facebook account and then click on Account in the top right-hand corner. Choose Account Settings from the dropdown menu.

2. Scroll to the bottom of the menu options until you see Download Your Information. Click on learn more.

3. If you are trying to retrieve your information from a computer that Facebook doesn’t recognize, you will be asked to resubmit your password as an additional security measure.

4. Click on Download. Again, you will see a couple of messages about security. Click Download Now or Okay when prompted.

5. Your information will now download. You will see a message saying that you will receive an e-mail when it’s ready. The process normally takes around 5-10 minutes based on the volume of data Facebook has to collect.

6. When your file is ready to download, Facebook will send you an e-mail link.

What you end up with is a zipped file. The size of the file will depend on the amount of media that you have uploaded but it could be several hundred megabytes.

Once opened, the file will contain individual folders for photos and videos, as well as your full profile. The format of the profile will be the same as you are used to seeing on the screen. It will contain all your personal details, as well your friend list, and everything that’s ever been posted to your wall.

Remember, this is just an offline representation of what’s on Facebook. If you need to make changes, you will have to go back to the site and make them there. Depending on the age of some posts, that might prove more difficult than it sounds!

Comment by NYCPatty, posted 11/5/2010, 2:20 PM:

Thank you for posting this information! I have been looking for it everywhere!
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