A few years ago, Facebook rolled out a feature that will allow you to download ALL of your user data. It reminds me of a lot of filing for Discovery when you are fighting a court case; you get a copy of all the dirt that the prosecution has on you. In this case, you get to see exactly what Facebook knows about you.
The process of downloading your data isn’t complicated, but just like deleting your Facebook account they’ve decided to bury the feature deep in your settings. When you download a copy of your Facebook data, it will come in a .zip formatted archive. Windows can easily extract this with its built-in software, or you can use a program like 7-zip or WinRar.
How To Download All of Your Facebook Data
From your Facebook account go into your Account Settings.
Then under General Account Settings, click the “Download a Copy” link.
On the next screen click the Start My Archive button.
You’ll get a message that the archive is requested and an email will be sent when it’s ready to download.
At this point, you will have to play the waiting game. The amount of time that Facebook takes to put together your download can vary. For some, it will be instant, but for others, it could take several hours or days. I think it may have something to do with how many videos or photos you have uploaded to your account. Just keep checking your email periodically until it shows up.
Eventually, the email should arrive in your inbox with the title “Your Facebook download is ready.” Click the link in your email that is provided by the Facebook team.
Then download the zip file of the data from your Facebook profile to a convenient and secure location on your computer. You’ll have to enter your password again before the download starts.
What is all this Facebook data? Check out this official Facebook site to learn everything that will be indexed and downloaded. After getting your archive, you’ll be surprised at how much of your browsing history, friend requests, and other personal information and information of your friends is included!
Here’s a look at what’s inside a Facebook archive. Notice how much information it includes. Then when you look deeper into each file, it gets even creepier.
Inside the archive, you’ll find a file called index.htm. This lets you browse through the archive in an offline webpage.
Take a second to scroll through each link on the left. You may find items with errors, like this video that didn’t download in the archive.
So, that’s all the data Facebook has on you. If that freaks you out and you’d rather not be part of the social network, check out our article: How To Permanently Delete Your Facebook Account.
If you want to do the same thing with Google, check out Google Takeout.