Facebook Updates Its Download Your Information Tool, Instagram’s Download Your Data

Data and inferences used to improve users’ experiences will be included

The entry screen to Facebook's Download Your Information tool Facebook

Facebook is adding new types of data to its Download Your Information tool and Instagram equivalent Download Your Data.

The company wrote in a Newsroom post, “Over the past decade, we’ve been working to extend the functionality of our self-service data access tools to help people access data in meaningful ways. Today’s step is part of these efforts. There have also been growing efforts by many policymakers and regulators to enhance people’s rights around access to their data. These laws include the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe, which was implemented in 2018, and the California Consumer Privacy Act, which took effect earlier this year.”

The respective tools will now provide additional information about users’ interactions on the two platforms, such as information they add to their profiles or actions including following a page or liking a post.

The social network said this type of information is used to personalize what people see on Facebook and Instagram, adding, “This is a big reason why no two people ever have the exact same experience using our products.”

Facebook also said Download Your Information will now include more inferences about content that people interact with over its services, which is used to help determine what users see in News Feed, the News tab and Facebook Watch.

The social network wrote, “For example, if someone shares an article about a football team that one of their friends posted, we may show them other football-related content. We infer that the person is interested in football because they engaged with their friend’s article about the sport.”

As for Download Your Data, Instagram will begin including categories that are assigned to some accounts, such as sports and fashion, which are used to suggest content in the photo- and video-sharing network’s Explore tab.

Facebook wrote, “Inferences aren’t unique to technology platforms. Companies commonly use information like this to improve people’s experiences, so we’re also sharing new educational content to help people understand this data and how we use it.”

The social network concluded, “It is important to us to keep working more transparently with regard to data. So, we will continue explaining the role that data plays in our services and update our tools whenever we can as the global conversation about this important topic evolves to make sure that people can continue to access data in meaningful ways.”

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