If you are a Facebook user, there is likely to be information on your profile that you wouldn’t want to lose.
For many of us, Facebook has rather insidiously, and over many years, become ever more tightly integrated into our daily lives. We share a lot of ourselves on the platform. Photographs and videos, comments, messages, friends lists, events. Meaningful conversations and treasured memories.
We put our trust in Facebook to keep our data safe and secure. Often without a second thought. But, given the company’s sorry history of privacy violations and security breaches, and the utterly contemptible way that it treats its users, that trust is no doubt misplaced.
Even if we are vigilant, there is always a chance that ex-friends or partners, online criminals, or other malcontents could hijack our accounts and we could be locked out and unable to view or retrieve our data. Supposedly, Facebook can help you regain control of a compromised account. But, over the years. I’ve heard from plenty of people who have never been able to get back into their hacked accounts.
And, of course, a major systems meltdown could occur that resulted in lost data for at least some users. Given the number of minor glitches that plague Facebook, such a meltdown would not be all that surprising.
Moreover, at the risk of being a little morbid, the Grim Reaper could be lurking just around the corner for any one of us. We could unexpectedly die or become permanently incapacitated. Our friends and loved ones may want to retrieve our information for posterity. But, they may not be able to access our Facebook accounts and, given Facebook’s often abysmal levels of support for its hapless users, it’s entirely possible they may never manage to do so.
So, it’s a good idea to download a full copy of your Facebook information, store it in a safe place, and let those close to you know how to access it if the need arises.
You can choose to download your information in either HTML or JSON format. HTML allows you to view your information in a web browser or other compatible software. JSON allows you to transfer or import your data into another service or programmatically interact with it in various ways.
If all you require is a backup copy of your Facebook information, HTML is the best option. But, it’s probably worthwhile to download both versions just in case your requirements change in the future.
Note that the following instructions describe accessing Facebook from a computer web browser. The file download option will likely not be available if you are using Facebook on a mobile device or via an app.
Here’s how to create your download file:
1: Click on the down arrow located at the top right beside the “Quick Help” icon and click “Settings” in the drop-down menu:
2: In “Your Facebook Information” click “Download a copy of your Facebook information to keep, or to transfer to another service”:
3: Choose the date range, format, and media quality for your download. The page will select all of your information by default. However, if you want to exclude some types of information, you can uncheck the boxes in the “Your Information” section. When you are ready, click the “Create File” button:
4: After the file has been created, you will receive a notification from Facebook to inform you that the download is ready. You may also receive a Facebook email with a link to the download file:
5: You can then download the file from the “Available Files” tab on the Download Your Information” Page:
When you click the “Download” button, you’ll be prompted to enter your Facebook password. You’ll then be able to download the file in .zip format.
And that’s it! Remember to keep your backup files in a safe and secure place. And, create new copies from time to time to keep your backups current.