Facebook is going through a difficult moment as it continues to grapple with an unfolding data privacy scandal. In the wake of this, many people have been wondering the kind of information Facebook has on them and how the site can control that information.
For others under the #deletefacebook movement, the only option is to boycott the site for good. But if you still can’t do away with Facebook, there is a simple exercise you can take to show you the amount of information the site has about you to prevent you from being manipulated.
The information will basically be around data that is already available in your account and activity log. It will also include information on ads that you have clicked on and the IP addresses you have used.
Technology experts add that the site will also show you email addresses previously associated with your account, the metadata contained in photos uploaded to Facebook and the topics of ads which may be targeted to you.
What you need to do to get this information is to go into the general section of the settings, where you will find the option “download a copy of your Facebook data”. Click on it and Facebook will email you when it’s ready to download.
Alternatively, you can take the following steps to see the archive of information Facebook has about you as outlined by Inc.com.
- You’re looking for facebook.com/settings. If for some strange reason that doesn’t work, on a desktop, you want to click the little upside-down triangle in the upper right-hand corner, then drop down and click “Settings.”
- Click where it says “Download Archive.” You will likely have to re-enter your password. Facebook will need about 10 or 15 minutes to compile your data and will send you a link via email to get your information.
- Check your email spam folder; the message Facebook sent me wasn’t readily visible in my inbox. The subject should read “Your Facebook download is ready.” Click the link in your email and you’ll be sent back to Facebook again–and probably have to enter your password once more. (This is a good thing; there’s a lot of personal information in the files they’re sending you.)
- Click the “Download Archive” button on this second screen, and you’ll download a .zip file that should be called: “facebook-YOURUSERNAME.zip.”
- Extract the files by clicking on the .zip file in most cases, and you’ll wind up with a series of folders. There should be a file called simply “index.html.” Click on that, and the archive should open in your browser.
The archive information you see depends on how long you have been on Facebook and how active you have been.