If you use (or have ever used) the social network Facebook, you’ve probably wondered at some stage how much it knows about you. Well, it turns out there’s a way to see a full breakdown of every single piece of data stored against your name on Facebook’s servers. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot.
We were alerted to this fact by an article from Georges Abi-Heila entitled Your Facebook data is creepy as hell. It really is astonishing to see so much of your life archived in one place: every post you’ve ever made, detailed metadata for every photo, your facial recognition profile, names and numbers of all your contacts, who you’ve unfriended, which advertisers are interested in you. No single item is that surprising – obviously, the social network has your photos. You put them there. But to see it all stored like this is kinda unsettling!
How to do it
Downloading an archive of your Facebook data is surprisingly easy to do, though you will need a computer (PC or Mac) to do it. Press the menu arrow in the top right of any page on facebook.com, click Settings and then Download a copy of your Facebook Data. Then press Start My Archive and wait for an email from Facebook.
It may take several hours for the data to be compiled, but eventually, you’ll get an email with a link to download the entire archive to your computer. You’ll need to confirm your identity before initiating the download to avoid just anyone grabbing access to your entire digital life. Then simply open up the zipped file and explore the depths of stored personal information.
Facebook is getting better at being open when it comes to topics like privacy, and has a lot of options for locking your profile down beyond the default settings. But this is a stark reminder that one of the world’s biggest companies probably knows an awful lot about you, whether you know it or not!