Facebook allows users to download expanded archive of their information


By Brittany Darwell Comment

Facebook has increased the amount of data it provides to users when they download a copy of their information from the site, according to a post on Facebook Public Policy Europe page.

The “Download Your Information” feature now includes catalogues of friend requests a users make, IP addresses they’ve logged in from and any previous names they’ve used, among other Facebook actions. This is in addition to the copy of photos, posts, messages, chat conversations, friend lists and other information that Facebook first made available for download in 2010.

The changes, which begin rolling out to users today, are part of an agreement with the Data Protection Commissioner  — an Irish agency responsible for the enforcement and monitoring of compliance with data protection legislation. Since Facebook’s international headquarters are located in Dublin, the company is responsible to the Irish commissioner. The commissioner conducted a three-month audit of Facebook following a formal complaint suggesting the social network was creating “shadow profiles” of non-users. The commissioner found the company compliant with Irish and European Union law, but had Facebook agree to gives users even more control over their data and privacy within six months.

When users download their information from Facebook, they get a zip file containing html files of their profile, wall, events, messages, notes and friend lists; jpegs of their photos; mp4s of their videos; and an index file for navigating the content. The data can be used as a keepsake or to replace lost media files, but not to easily switch to a different social network.

The following is a table from the commissioner’s report showing what was previously available in the “Download Your Information” tool and what Facebook promised to add. The company did not list all of the changes it made today, but it says more categories of information will be available in the future. Users can download their information here.