How to Download Your Facebook Data

See what information the site is storing about you.

Unsplash / Thought Catalog

After appearing before the House Energy & Commerce Committee for two consecutive days, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted to the missteps the social media platform took when it came to protecting users’ data. An estimated 87 million accounts were leaked, including Zuckerberg’s, to the data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook houses the personal data of more than 2 billion people. In an age where information translates to currency for advertisers, the website is a literal treasure trove for businesses. In light of the site’s massive leak, Zuckerberg announced new policies in an effort to make the platform more transparent. This includes a way for users to get a comprehensive list of all of the data Facebook has on them.

The list reveals all of the personal information users might have submitted, where they’ve checked-in, what apps they’ve connected to their account, and much more. Inverse has created a step-by-step guide for how to attain this information.

Start by signing into Facebook and navigating to the “Settings” by tapping the drop-down arrow at the top right corner of your News Feed.

This will take you to the “General Account Settings” page, where you can change your accounts privacy settings, block users, and see what ads Facebook is serving you. At the very bottom of this page, you’ll see a link that says “Download a copy of your Facebook data.” Click that to get the process started.

From there you’ll be taken to another page where you’ll be prompted to press the “Start My Archive” button. Before you do this, if you’d like to get a detailed list of all of the information that you might receive in the list click on the “And more” link below the green button.

When you start your archive, Facebook will ask you to input your password. Once you’ve done the social media platform will begin compiling all of your data into one zip file that will be emailed to the address your account is linked to. This could take a few minutes depending on how populated your account is.

Then you’ll have to check your inbox. Be sure to check your junk mail, as the email could accidentally be sent there. The message will look like it does in the picture above and should have a personalized link at the very bottom. Hitting that will bring up a Facebook page where you can be downloading your data archive.

Now all that is left to do is unzip the file and navigate through all of the data Facebook has about you. This includes every message or attachment you’ve ever sent to a Friend, every page you’ve ever liked, every ad you’ve ever seen, and so on.

Part of this information could have been leaked to Cambridge Analytica if you linked your account to the “This Is Your Digital Life” survey in 2015. To check if you’re account was compromised, head to Facebook’s Help Center. Be aware that if any of your friends connect their accounts to the survey your public profile, Page likes, birthday and current city was likely shared.

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