Facebook’s New Download Your Information Feature: What You Get

Facebook recently announced a feature that lets users download a copy of their profile and content, and now it’s becoming available for some users. In a downloadable zip file, users get html files which include their entire profile, wall, Event history, messages, Notes, a list of their friends, . jpgs of their photos, and .mp4s of their videos, as well as an index file for navigating the content. The data can be used as a diary, or  to replace other information from a hard drive crash or stolen computer — but not necessarily to switch to a different social network.

Downloading the Zip File of Your Information

To access the Download Your Information feature, go to Account->Account Settings->Download Your Information and click “learn more”. Users are then shown a description of what their download will include, a security warning, and a privacy warning stating that the file will contain sensitive information and that users should “take precautions when storing, sending or uploading it to any other services.”


Once users click “Download”, the button will change to read “Pending” and users are informed that they will receive a download link via email. For users with a lot of content, the wait can be several hours. Users will eventually receive a “Your download is ready” email from Facebook containing a link back to the Download Your Information page. Users are prompted to re-enter their password and possibly complete other security tests before being allowed to initiate the download of the zip file, which comes from a “bigzipfiles.facebook.com” URL.

Download Your Information Zip File Contents

Once downloaded, unzipped and opened, users will see folders of HTML files, photos, videos, a README.txt stating when the file was downloaded and by who (this info is appended to the bottom of each html page), and an index.html file. Inside the folders are the following parts of a user’s profile, which can be opened separately or navigated through the index:

HTML Folder
Profile

A complete read-out of a user’s profile including basic information, Facebook profile URL, contact information, profile picture, relationships, education and work info, Likes and interests, and Groups (including secret Groups) of which the user is a member.

Wall

A reverse chronological read-out of all wall posts and content uploaded by the user or their friends to the user’s profile, including status updates. Links are active and show the thumbnail and blurb of sites, but embedded content such as YouTube videos or mp3s will appear as external links. Photos and videos posted to the wall, including content the user is tagged in, link locally to the downloaded folders containing that content. Users can see Likes and comments to any wall post.

Friends

A text-only list of all of a user’s current friends, sorted alphabetically by first name. Names are not linked and contain no additional information, such as email addresses or phone numbers. Only a user’s current friends appear.

Notes

All of the Notes a user has created, including embedded photos and links. Comments are included below each Note, but Likes are absent. Notes a user is tagged in are not included.

Events

Event details and descriptions of every Event a user has RSVP’d to as “Attending” or “Maybe”. Each listing links to the original Facebook Event page. Event images, wall posts, guest lists, secondary hosts, privacy settings, personal invite messages, and a user’s own RSVP are not included, but can be viewed on the Event page.

Messages

A threaded read-out of all of a user’s sent and received messages, sorted reverse chronologically by the send date of the latest message in the thread. Attached content is shown as links.