Facebook Begins Testing Photo Transfer Tool

It was released in Ireland and starts with Google Photos

Facebook's photo transfer tool was released in Ireland Monday Facebook

Facebook began testing a photo transfer tool that will enable people to transfer their photos and videos from the social network directly to other online services, beginning with Google Photos.

This new feature marks the next step in Facebook’s efforts to provide its users with data portability options.

The photo transfer tool was released in Ireland Monday, with plans to make it available globally during the first half of 2020.

Director of privacy and public policy Steve Satterfield said in a Newsroom post that people with access to the new tool can find it within the Your Facebook Information area.

Satterfield said privacy and security were top priorities in developing this tool, and software engineer William Morland provided more details in a separate blog post.

He wrote, “Any mechanism to send data outside of a service carries risk. We have put measures in place to mitigate these risks. For example, we use the commonly used protocol OAuth to authenticate people with the destination service. As we continue to add more services and data types, we needed to look at several factors. It’s important that the system request only the permissions required for the task at hand. Access to the destination service should end once the transfer is complete. Finally, transfers should only be created by the owner of the account. In order to verify this, we ask people to re-enter their password before initiating a transfer. We also send an email to the registered account once a transfer has begun, which allows people a chance to stop the transfer if they change their mind or do not recognize the request.”

Satterfield said the social network is testing the new tool with plans to refine it based on feedback from users and conversations with stakeholders.

He added, “We’ve learned from our conversations with policymakers, regulators, academics, advocates and others that real-world use cases and tools will help drive policy discussions forward. That’s why we’re developing new products that take into account the feedback we’ve received and will help drive data portability policies forward by giving people and experts a tool to assess.”

And Morland pointed out that Facebook’s Download Your Information tool has been available since 2010, and the social network joined the Data Transfer Project—along with Twitter, Google and Microsoft—in July 2018.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.